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Full text of "Historical discourse preached on the one hundred and sixty-second anniversary of the First Church of Christ, Medway, Mass. first Sabbath in October, 1876"

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Ifefttie-if i[i,$ie$iif.$! 

Rev. E 0. JAMESON, 


MEDWyiY, Myiss. 


I7I4- "l|(itl!«)ol|atl!%^«iIMli<l'«S." 1876. 




MhQt (tijiiuij of Cljnat, 

MMmwiiTt M^ss. 



By Rev. E. O. JAMESON, Pastor. 

Published by the Church. 



34 School Street. 




Unanimously adopted by the First C/iurck of Christ, in Afedway, at their 
Monthly Meeting on Saturday, Nov. 4, 1876. 

Resolved, That we heartily appreciate the patient research and labor 
involved in the preparation of the very able and interesting Historical 
Discourse delivered by our Pastor on the occasion of our late Anniver- 
sary ; and moved thereto by our own desire to preserve the historical 
incidents relating to our Church and Society, thus laboriously gathered, 
as well, as by a very generally expressed wish in the community about us, 
we most respectfully ask of him that the same may be published, together 
with the Historical Sketch of the Sabbath School presented by him on 
the same occasion. 

Resolved, That a Committee of three be chosen to co-operate with our 
Pastor in reference to the publication and distribution of his discourse. 

Resolved, That this Committee consist of the Deacons of the Church, 
viz., Dea. Elbridge Clark, Dea. William Daniels, and Dea. Horatio Jones. 

A true copy. 

Attest.. WILLIAM DANIELS, Clerk. 

%t\\tK Of the f a.^tor. 

To THE First Church of Christ, in Medway. 

Dear Brethren and Friends, — Your Clerk has placed in my hands a 
copy of the resolutions adopted at the last Church Meeting. 

These resolutions have reference to the publication of the Historical 
Discourse preached on the occasion of the late Anniversary of the 
Church, together with the Historical Sketch of the Sabbath School read 
on the same day. 

You will please accept my thanks for this kind expression of interest 
and appreciation ; and in consideration of the general wish expressed ; 
and in further consideration that the incidents and facts, thus gathered, 
may remain of some local account in years to come, I am persuaded to 
yield to your request, and do hereby consent to have these papers 

Your affectionate Pastor, 

November 15, 1876. 

%kh\\k about %'mx, mA oo toumt about hcv: U\\ the iowsx^ 

I^larli yc wdl liev huluuith.^', icon.^i(lc« her palaeeis ; that ye may 
tell it to the genevatiou foIUnviitn. — ^Y 48:12-13. 

In all ages and countries it has been the common impulse 
of mankind to leave some memorial. This universal desire is 
evidenced by builded monument and pyramid, by hieroglyphic 
and hierogram, by the story and song of tradition, by painting 
and sculpture, by coins and written annals. And this human 
passion to be remembered by leaving some memorial to future 
generations of what has been, of transpired events, of human 
deeds and achievements, appears to have inscribed upon it the 
signature of God's approval and encouragement ; for He 
expressly commanded ancient Israel to build the heap of 
stones, to raise the memorial pillar, to erect the altar of wit- 
ness, to set up the stone of Ebenezer, to record and rehearse 
in story and psalm the national history. God seems to tell 
us that in leaving such monuments and records a kindly 
service is rendered succeeding generations, for we find, in 
that the Bible is so largely historical, that God himself values 
highly such means of human instruction. 

Corresponding to this universal and divinely approved 
desire for remembrance, we find an almost equally universal 
fondness for the memorials of the past. There is a strong 
instinctive impulse to find out what has transpired ; and man- 
kind of to-day are as eager to decipher the ancient hiero- 
glyphic, to spell out the time-worn and illegible records as 
the old generations ever could have been to inscribe them. 

The interest in history is very general. Hardly anything 
has greater fascination for the human mind than historical 
research ; old ruins are excavated, buried cities exhumed, the 
bowels of the earth ransacked, quaint symbols and old records 
studied, by this human desire to learn what has been. 

This impresses us, only the more, with the sacred obligation 
to leave on record whatever may prove of interest or value to 
those who shall live after us. 

We should recognize not only these corresponding impulses 
of human nature, — the one to tell its history, the other, to 
hear it told, but, it seems to me, we should recognize also 
an obligation, a sacred duty we owe to those who shall sue. 
ceed us, to gather up with care and patience the scattered 
materials and loose fragments of history, which lie unknown 
or hid away in the attics of ancient dwellings, and liable to be 
lost, in some box or basket of waste papers ; to pick up, bind 
together, and place on file in some secure form, all those 
items and facts of earlier times which have floated down the 
years and lie loosely about, only too easily burned up and 
lost. To secure these for preservation and hand them over to 
posterity seems a service not to be neglected. 

While, at all times, we should seek to serve the Future, 
by handing over to her whatever may be of historic interest 
and value, yet perhaps at certain epochs it becomes the 
special duty, as it should be the privilege, of those who happen 
to be then living and filling certain relations, to undertake a 
somewhat unusual service ; to make, even, a somewhat labor- 
ious research, and by an outlay of time and expense to compile 
and place in some substantial form the incidents and annals of 
the past, that thus the national, local, or church history may 
be handed over to our successors, and its preservation secured. 

Moses lived in such a day, and fulfilled, by Divine help, such 
a service ; so also Ezra and other inspired men ; and such an 
epoch had come, and such a service was demanded of the in- 
habitants of Jerusalem whom the Text addresses. God calls 

upon the citizens of Zion, in the day of her truest grandeur 
and her highest prosperity, to survey her architectural mag- 
nificence, her proud defences, her palatial wealth, to consider 
her wonderous local history, and to do this, that they might 
pass down to the coming generations the traditions of her glory 
the story of her municipal strength and opulence. God says 
to the citizens of that ancient town, " Walk about Zion, and 
go round about her : tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well 
her bulwarks, consider her palaces : that ye may tell it to the 
generations following." Are not such words the voice of 
God to us, citizens of America, in this Centennial epoch of 
our national history ? Is not this the time, which calls for 
that somewhat unusual service, that somewhat laborious re- 
search, and liberal expenditure to discover, to compile, and to 
transmit for preservation whatever there may be of historical 
fact and incident concerning the nation, the state, the town, 
and the parish ? So that, whatever is worthy of record, we 
may tell to the generation following. To such a service the 
inspired Text, the recent enactment of our American Congress, 
the close of a century of unprecedented national development, 
and, I may add, the wonderful Providence and Grace of God 
to the Church, call us. 

It happens to me, at such time, to be standing in this 
honored pulpit as the Pastor of this ancient Church of Christ. 
Thus standing in this sacred place, and in such relations of 
sacred trust, I am persuaded, if not as by an obligation, yet, as 
by a personal privilege and as a service that might not be 
wholly without interest and value to you, to yield myself some- 
what to the call made, and give the hour of discourse this 
morning to 


In the preparation of this historical sketch I have glanced 
with curious eye and with no ordinary pleasure, along the 
pages of the old Record Books of Church and Parish. I have 


seized with an eager hand the scattered papers, yellow with 
age, lying about in the attics of ancient homes. I have read 
with interest the almost illegible Diaries of the old inhabi- 
tants. I have made some of the happiest discoveries of 
facts of church history, inscribed on the fly-leaves and mar- 
gins of old Psalm-books and Almanacs; and, with diligent 
search, have picked up here and there many quaint and curious 
things of the olden times, only a few of which can be brought 
within the reasonable limits of a discourse. The history of 
this ancient Church covers a period of one hundred and sixty- 
two years, reaching back to a date within a few months of the 
incorporation of the town. In fact, it was that this Church 
of Christ might be organized, that the Town of Medway was 
conceived and given an existence. It was to make ready for 
this Church, to build its meeting-house, and to provide for its 
minister, that the Great General Court was petitioned, and 
the Act of Incorporation granted, by which the town of Med- 
way was established. Indeed, that the inhabitants might 
have among themselves a meeting-house, a " learned Orthodox 
minister," and Christian institutions, was the principal object 
in those days for which any locality sought and were granted 
town privileges. Thus Medway was the cradle prepared in 
which to place and rock the infant Church, and for many 
years the officers of the town, selectmen and various com- 
mittees, were the nursing fathers and mothers, the guardians, 
to care for and nourish the infancy and childhood of this 
Church of Christ. 

Preliminary to the account to be given, it will be of interest, 
perhaps, to run over hastily what is known of this locality, 
prior to the formation of this Church. Hence let us trace 
briefly, — 


The Indian name of these parts, next adjacent the vast, 
unknown, and unbroken wilderness toward the setting sun. 

across the river Charles from Dedham, was Boggastow. When 
the West part of Dedham, or " Middle-Field," so called, was 
granted by the General Court, by an Act of Incorporation, Jan. 
I, 1650, these lands, known as Boggastow, were embraced 
within the limits of the new township under the name of 
Meadfield, now called Medfield. In the order of incorporation 
Medfield was the forty-third town of Massachusetts. 

It was incorporated while John Endicott was Governor of 
the Colony, about a year after Charles the First was be- 
headed, and during the ascendancy of Cromwell in England. 
Nine years after, in 1659, settlements having pushed further 
to the westward, there was added to Medfield a new territory 
of eight square miles, a region called by the Indians " Muck- 
squirt," subsequently called the " New Grant," and now known 
as West Medway. 

The early settlers of Medfield, West of the Charles, were for 
some years few and scattered ; and in the days of Indian 
hostilities, under King Philip, they were exceedingly exposed 
to assaults and de[)redations of the savages. 

After the burning of Medfield village, Feb. 21, 1676, Mon- 
day morning, the Indians, some five hundred in number, 
retired across the river to this part of the town, burning the 
bridge after them, and assembled on the top of one of the 
nearest hills, in full view of the ruins they had occasioned. 
There they held a savage feast, and King Philip himself was 
seen on a black horse galloping and prancing about, in high 
glee over the havoc he had made. The people of this part of 
Medfield had provided themselves with a stone building near 
Boggastow Pond, into which they all retired for safety. The 
Indians lingered about in these regions, attempting to invade 
the garrison at different times, and finally made a fierce assault 
upon the "Stone-house" on the 6th of May, 1676, but "met 
with a notorious repulse." 

At the time of this final assault, it appears, that all the people 
of the settlement were safely within the Stone-house except 


one mother with her young babe, who, being too weak to walk 
the distance or too late in seeking the refuge, was left, poor 
woman ! separated by the woods and a distance of a mile and 
more from all the other inhabitants, in an unprotected dwell- 
ing, with no mortal to speak to, with no lighted candle. 
Alone in the darkness, the yell of the savages in her ears, she 
sat all night long holding her child in her arms, on the cellar- 
stairs of a house that anciently stood near that of our vener- 
able neighbor, Mr. Silas Richardson. 

For weeks after, the women and children kept close within 
the stone building, while the men, with musket and hoe in 
hand, went forth, when the sun was an hour high, to their 
lands, and returned an hour before sunset. The following 
July, however, a desperate battle was fought in the woods 
near by, and the Indians were defeated, put to flight, and 
pursued as far as Taunton, by a force of thirty men with 
ninety Christian Indians, under the command of the heroic 
Capt. Joseph Morse. In this pursuit no less than fifty In- 
dians were taken captive, among whom was Pomham, the great 
Sachem of the Narragansetts. It was very soon after, that King 
Philip himself was slain, and the savages abandoned this part of 
the country and never after disturbed the settlers in these parts. 

History tells us that the people who first occupied these 
lands " were men and women of ardent piety." 

Their first minister, while they belonged to Mcdficld, was 
Rev. John Wilson, Jr., the eldest son of " Rev. John' Wilson, 
the first minister of Charlestown, afterwards the first minister 
of the First Church in the ancient town of Boston." John 
Wilson, Jr., was a graduate of the first class of Harvard 
University in 1642. He was settled in Medfield in 165 i, and 
continued their minister for forty years, until his death He 
died Aug. 23, 1691, at the age of seventy years. "The 
Lord's day preceding his translation," (reads the record) " he 
preached both forenoon and afternooii fervently and power- 
fully. The Lord's day he expired, the greater part of his 

1 1 

Church were present to behold and lament his removal from 

After the lapse of nearly six years from the decease of their 
first minister, and after hearing thirty-two different candidates, 
(which seems about the only modern thing to be told of those 
olden times,) they ordained as the second pastor of Medfield, 
April 21, 1697, a young man not yet twenty-one years of age, 
whose name was Joseph Baxter, a native of Braintree, and a 
graduate of Harvard University in the Class of 1693. Rev. 
Mr. Baxter was pastor for nearly forty-eight years, until 
his death, which took place May 2, 1745, in the sixty-ninth 
year of his age. Of him the historian of the church says, " He 
was much respected and generously supported." 

It was in the seventeenth year of the ministry of this second 
pastor of Medfield, Rev. Joseph Baxter, in the year 1713, that 
the inhabitants of old Boggastow and the New Grant, having 
become somewhat numerous and prosperous, and it being a 
long distance to the meeting-house at Medfield Plain, and 
bitterly cold crossing the wide intervening meadow lands in 
Winter, these people, situated thus remotely from their place of 
public worship, began to think of having a meeting-house and 
a minister among themselves. For more than sixty years they 
had faithfully attended the meetings in the old Church beyond 
the river at the centre of the town ; and they dearly loved the 
" old meeting-house," they loved the people of that part of 
Medfield, and they loved their good minister ; but the distance 
was great, and in cold weather very tedious " the way to Zion's 
hill." Therefore they determined to establish the Gospel 
among themselves. Inspired by this idea of having a meeting- 
house, a minister, public worship, and a Church, they went 
about obtaining an Act of Incorporation as a town. Accord- 
ingly, they petitioned the Governor and General Court, and 
their petition was granted in the twelfth year of the reign of 
Queen Anne, sometimes called " the Good Queen," the Act of 
Incorporation being dated Oct. 25, 1713, and reading as fol- 
lows : — 



An Act for dividing of the Townsliip of Medfield and erect- 
ing a neiv Toivn there by the name of Medzvay. 

Whereas the lands of the Township of Medfield within the County of 
Suffolk lye situate on Charles River, to wit on both sides of the said 
River being divided by the same : and the Town plat and principal settle- 
ment, as also the Meeting-house for the Public Worship of God, being 
seated on the East side for the accommodation of the first and Ancient 
Inhabitants, who are now much increased, many issued forth and settled 
on the West side of the River to a competent number for a distinct Town 
of themselves, and labor under many hardships and Difficulties by reason 
of separation by the River to enjoy equal benefit and town privileges with 
others their fellow Townsmen and neighbors, and have therefore made 
application to the Town as also addressed this Court to be made a distinct 
Town Committees appointed by this Court having been upon the 
Ground, viewed the same and Reported in their favor for proper bounds 
to be set them. 

Be it Enacted by his Excellency the Governonr, Council and 
Representatives in General Court assembled and by the Au- 
thority of the same : 

That all those Lands lying on the West Side of Charles River, now 
part of the Township of Medfield, be Erected and made into a Distinct 
and Separate Town by the name of Medway, the River to be the Bounds 
betwixt the Two Towns. And that the Inhabitants of Medway have, use 
and exercise and enjoy all such power and privileges which other Towns 
have, and so by Law use, exercise & enjoy. So that they procure and 
Settle a Learned, Orthodox Minister of good Conversation among 'em 
and make provision for an Hon''''ie support & maintainance for him. 
And that in order thereto, they be Discharged from further payment to 
the Ministry in Medfield from and after the last day of February next. 

Provided also. — That all Province and Town Taxes that are already 
Levied, or Granted, be collected and paid, and all Town Rights and Com- 
mon undivided Lands remain to be divided among the Interested as if no 
Separation had been made. 

And Mr. George Fairbanks, a principal Inhabitant of the said Town of 
Medway, is hereby Directed and Impowered to notify and Summon the 
Inhabitants duly Qualified for Voters to Assemble and meet together for 
the Choosing of Town Officers to stand untill the next Annual Election 
according to Law. 

A true Copy. 


I. ADDINGTON, Scc'ry. 


And thus were the old Indian lands of "Boggastow" and 
"Mucksquirt" constituted the town of Medway, in order of 
incorporation the sixty-ninth town in the Commonwealth ; 
and the inhabitants were to " use and exercise and enjoy all 
such powers and privileges, which other towns have and so by 
Law, use exercise and enjoy, so that they procure and Settle 
a Learned Orthodox Minister of good Conversation among 
them and make provision for an honorable support and main- 
tainance for him." 

This separation, your ancestors were careful to place on 
record, " was not in consequence of any dislike to their minis- 
ter or the Church and Society to which they belonged, or any 
difference in religious sentiments, but that they and their 
posterity might more conveniently enjoy gospel privileges." 
Tradition says, that the name Medway was suggested by the 
locality itself, it being situated Meadway, /. c, between or by 
way of the meadows. 


The people of the new town of Medway at once set about 
the exercise of their incorporated rights and privileges. 
Accordingly, under date of 

"Medway november y"" 23. 17 j|^" the first Town Meeting was held. 
And after choice of Town Oiificers, " to stand to next Annual Election 
which will be March 14*1' 1714," viz. Town Clerk, Constable and five 
Select-Men, it was 

"■ Voted, That John Rockett and Jonathan Adams, Sen', Serg' Samuel 
Partridge, and Serg*^ Jonathan Adams and Edward Clark to be a Committee 
to take care to procure the Meeting-house built." 

The second vote was, 

"To procure accommodations for the setting the Meeting-house upon 
the place commonly called Bare Hills and procure some convenient 
accommodations for the Ministry thereabouts." Two weeks later the 
Town voted, To "put out y" Meeting-house by y" job to some workman, 
and that men that are to be employed in the work to be hired in this 


The plan being adopted, the articles of agreement, made 
between John Richardson and the Committee for building the 
Meeting-house, were signed June 7, 1714. 

Thus the building of the Meeting-house was given in charge 
of faithful John Richardson, with instructions to employ only- 
citizens of the town, doubtless so that every workman should 
have an interest in his work as well as his pay. A wisdom 
worthy to be copied ! 

When now the work was well under way, and the first 

Meeting-house had been raised over on yonder hill, (called 

Bare, not because the rendezvous of bears, but because barren, 

as we see to this day,) a meeting of the town was called, of 

which we have this record : 

" 1714 September the 22. Assembled the Enhabitants of Medway At 
the house of peter Adamses. John Rocket was chose moderator. 
Voted, that the Town will provide a minister for themselves for the time 
to come. Voted, Capt. gorge fairbancks and John partridg and peter 
Adams and Ensin John bullard and ser. Timothy Clarke is chosen a 
comitty to provide a minister for the Town untill the aniwall metting in 
march next following, and it is voted that y" town are to meet at the house 
of peter Adamses to atend the publick worship of God on the sabbath 
days and he haws given his consent to the same." 

Thus a temporary place of worship is provided, and a com- 
mittee of five prominent citizens are charged with the high 
responsibility of securing a minister. But in those days there 
were no telegraph, railroad, post-office, no regular mails, 
hardly a highway ; and last but not least, no Ministers' Bu- 
reau and no Mr. Sargent to help a parish to a good minister 
upon an hour's notice. There was no way open but for two 
or more of this committee to journey to Cambridge or Boston 
and arrange for a minister as soon as might be. They ful- 
filled their mission, and returned with the word, that, " on the 
first sabbath in October {i.e., Oct. 7, 1714) a minister will 
preach in Medway." 

And, doubtless, to the coming of that first Sabbath of Octo- 
ber, one hundred and sixty-two years ago, the inhabitants of 


the new town looked with even greater interest than any of 
us have looked forward to the coming of this day of its anni- 

That was a long time ago. Things here have changed. 
Then there were dense forests, with only here and there a 
narrow clearing ; and rude dwellings, scattered about, were 
few in number. The people had never seen a church-spire or 
heard a church-bell. The low, flat-roofed, first Meeting-house 
was not yet completed. True, the building was going up : 
just over on Bare Hills the daily clatter of hammers gave 
assurance that good John Richardson had not forgotten his 
contract, that he and his neighbors were busy. 

This was a frontier settlement then, the "out West" of 
that day ; everything was new and primitive. But the same 
sky was overhead then, as now ; the same God and Saviour 
was beyond the sky ; and pious hearts gathered around family 
altars in the homes here then, as now. 

The autumn foliage was brilliant and gorgeous, as it is 
to-day, on that desired Sabbath morning one hundred and 
sixty-two years ago. 

That first Sabbath of October, 1714, to the scattered settlers 
of Medway, dawned as no other ever had, because they were 
to have, for the first time, public worship in the place. Hence 
they awoke that morning to a new experience. 

The minister had arrived a day or two before. As the 
hour of public worship drew on, there was heard through the 
settlement the solemn tap of Peter Adams's old drum, which 
he had brought home from the Indian wars, and the people 
were seen gathering, on foot and on horseback, from all parts 
of the town, along the crooked paths, through woods and 
clearings, all going towards the house of Peter Adams. There 
were old and venerable men and women, mothers with their 
babies, boys and girls, Indians and colored people, all hurry- 
ing to one place. There was to be a meeting that day ! And 
by the time of service, the large, low-ceiled rooms were 
packed with an eager and happy congregation. 


The preacher, who was there, seated by the small table, with 
the family Bible open before him, (who had come from Bos- 
ton, or Cambridge, or elsewhere, as a candidate,) was a man 
of some forty years, with a mild, intelligent face, wearing a 
solemn yet kind expression. His name was asked and whis- 
pered from one to another. " It is the Rev. Mr. Deming," 
said this lady to the one sitting next to her. All seemed 
eager and expectant ; at length, as the preacher rose, every 
eye was riveted, every lip hushed, and every heart solemn. 
Stretching forth his hand, the minister said, "Let us pray!" 
That prayer, so solemn, so tender, so fervent ! It seemed to 
speak in each heart, " This is a man of God !" Then they 
sang a metred psalm in some good old tune, in which there 
was devout worship, as there is not in much modern church 
music. Afterward came the sermon, for it had not then been 
voted, nor was it for a long time after, the practice to read " the 
Scriptures " in public service. 

The Puritans held that the Bible was for the laity to read 
and interpret for themselves, and hence forbade its public 
reading in worship by the clergy. " It was a good sermon," 
the people said ; and they said so, because all sermons were 
good to them, and because it went straight as an Indian's 
arrow to its mark, to the heart and conscience of the hearer. 

There was probably an afternoon service that day, but no 
Sabbath School and no Sabbath Evening Prayer-meeting till 
the lapse of more than a hundred years. 

Whether, then and there, on that first occasion of public 
worship, or not till some months after, this Church was for- 
mally organized is not known, and it is immaterial ; for this 
Church of Christ was formed, in fact, on that day, by the 
assembling together of Christian believers, with the under- 
standing that henceforth they were to worship statedly to- 
gether in one place, and celebrate Christian ordinances : such 
is the essential simplicity and beauty of the New Testament, 
or Congregational, principle of constituting a Christian Church. 


We love to think that this old Church of Christ in Med- 
way was established, so exactly, after the manner of the 
primitive churches in the apostolic times ! And we are happy 
to observe the first Sabbath of October, the day on which 
public worship was held in the town for the first time, as the 
Anniversary Day of the organization of this ancient Church. 

We are happy also to find that the first Christian preacher 
on the ground, the one who preached the first sermon in the 
town of Medway, was the same, who afterward became her 
first settled minister. 

As proof, that "the first Sabbath in October" is the day, 
and that Rev. Mr. Deming was the preacher on that day, I 
copy from the town records the following receipt of salary, 
signed by the hand of Rev. Mr. Deming himself, as follows : — 

'■Medway, April the nth, 1715, at the house of Joseph Danielson. 

Then and there, Received the sum of 26 pounds of money of the Select- 

Men.and Committee for preaching to the Town, which is in full discharge 

from the seventh of October in the year 17 14 to the ninth day of April in 

the year 171 5. 

" I say received by me, 

(Signed) David Deming." 

The town met, Jan. 31, 1715, to call a minister for settle- 
ment. The record is " When the votes were given in and 
sorted, Rev. David Deming was chosen to settle amongst us 
to carry on the work of the ministry." But either because of 
engagements elsewhere, or for some other reason, Mr, Deming 
did not accept this call until the following September. His 
letter of acceptance was read in open town-meeting held Sept. 
12, 1715, in the Meeting-house, which at that date was suf- 
ficiently completed for occupancy. The town voted an annual 
salary of sixty pounds ; and at a subsequent meeting, Oct. 24, 
1 71 5, they voted, "That the ordination of Mr. Deming should 
take place on the third Wednesday in November next." And 
accordingly, on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 171 5, Rev. David Deming 
was ordained and became the first pastor of the Church of 
Christ in Medway. 

What churches were invited on the Council, what ministers 
took part in the services, who preached the Ordination Ser- 
mon, are matters to me unknown. That the first Meeting- 
house was dedicated on the day of Ordination is very probable. 


The first Meeting-house stood on the west side of what is 
now the Cemetery, a few rods north of the public tomb. It was 
thirty-four feet in length, twenty-eight feet in width, and sixteen 
feet between joints ; the roof was nearly flat, rising only four 
feet above the centre of beam. The walls were planked and 
clapboarded on the outside, and within "sealed up with good 
boards." There were galleries on three sides ; the pulpit was 
as high as possible, reached by a winding stair and shut up with 
a door. At first, there was but one pew made, probably for the 
Deacons ; the rest of the house was seated with pine benches. 
After three years had elapsed the town made an appropriation 
of twenty-five shillings, and instructed Mr. John Richardson 
" to build another pew at the North-East end of the Meeting- 
House next to the pulpit for the Minister's family to sit in." 
Subsequently other pews were built, on permission of the town, 
by the more wealthy and honorable families at their own ex- 
pense. It was a current practice to have a committee chosen, 
men of good judgment, to seat the Meeting-house, /. e., to 
assign the seats to persons according to their honorable stand- 
ing, by reason of years and wealth. 

In the winter of 1749, Jan. 18, this first Meeting-house was 
burned by some unknown person. Some surmised that it was 
set on fire by a certain negro, others, that a prominent desire 
among certsin persons to have a new meeting-house inspired 
the burning of the old ; but whatever the unknown facts, we see 
that burning meeting-houses is not a " new thing under the 
sun," and that the world has not yet outgrown a very old 
iniquity. It seems that nothing was saved from the fire ex- 


cept the glass ; this the Parish, which began to exist about 
tliat time, voted should be sold, and accordingly sales were 
made from time to time, as opportunity ofifered, and the avails 
were appropriated to pay Parish expenses, and for several 
years the income from this source was more than sufficient ; 
so that, finally, from the receipts for the glass from the old 
meeting-house, unexpended, ten shillings were appropriated to 
purchase a Parish Record Book, five shillings for a latch to put 
on the pulpit-door in the new meeting-house, and the balance, 
about four shillings, to compensate the parish clerk, Samuel 
Harding, Esq., for copying the minutes of the Parish into the 
new and large Record Book. And here we have \sliozvi)ig it\ 
that old Record Book still in possession ; but whatever be- 
came of the five-shilling latch on the pulpit-door is among the 
things unknown. 

With the ordination of Rev. David Deming, on Wednesday, 
Nov. 20, 1715, in the first Meeting-house in Medwa)'^, begins 
the series of pastorates of which the present is the ninth. 

17 I 5 FIRST PASTORATE. 1 722. 

Rev. Mr. Deming was a graduate of Harvard University, in 
the Class of 1700, the last class that graduated under the 
presidency of the Rev. Increase Mather. With whom the first 
Pastor of Medway studied Divinity is unknown. This was 
seventy years before Mr, Nathaniel Emmons became the 
minister of Franklin, and almost a century prior to the found- 
ing a School of the Prophets on Andover Hill. There are no 
Church Records of the period covered by Rev. Mr. Deming's 
ministry ; hence we know very little of his pastorate, or of this 
Church during those first years of its history. Of the list of 
members, prior to the second pastorate, only three names have 
come down to us ; these are John Partridge, Ebenezer Thomp- 
son, and Samuel Partridge, all of whom, subsequently, were 
chosen and officiated as Deacons of the Church. 


Rev. Mr. Deming remained pastor only about seven years. 
Early in September, 1722, he called the Selectmen together 
and made this request, " That y" Town would give him a total 
dismission from his ministerial office." Accordingly " assem- 
bled y*" inhabitants of this town on Monday y" 24th of Sept. 
1722," and "y*^ Rev. Mr. Deming renewed his request by writ- 
ing to y'^ Town." A lengthy debate ensued. " A vote was 
tried to have the Town adjourn, but could get none. Then 
both Church and Town, as a Town, manifested their willing- 
ness by vote to give Mr. Deming his request, and dismiss him 
from his ministerial service amongst us." " The Select-men 
the same day by y" desire of the Town acquainted Mr. Dem- 
ing that they had answered his request." " He accepted and 
manifested his thanks to them for the same." 

"October 16, 1722. The Church dismissed Mr. Deming 
from his pastoral office over them by advice of Council from 
the neighboring Churches." 

Rev. Mr. Wright says, in his Century Sermon, of this first 
pastor, " His ministry was short, and according to tradition, 
unhappy for himself and for the Church and people of the 
town." And in his reflections he continues, " But that holy 
and merciful Being, who regards his Church and people as the 
apple of his eye, did not long permit this town to be destitute 
of the stated means of public religious instruction." 

It appears that immediately on Mr. Deming's dismission, a 
committee was chosen to supply preaching by candidates for 
settlement; and we find that Feb. 19, 1724, the town voted 
a call very unanimously to Rev. Joseph Greene, of Boston, 
offering a salary of seventy-five pounds and a settlement of 
ninety pounds ; but for some reason Mr. Greene declined the 
call. On the following June (/. e., June 11, 1724) the town 
met again to cast their votes for a minister ; and " when the 
vote came in, and was numbered, it fell unanimously upon Mr. 
Nathan Bucknam, both Church and Town." The salary offered 
was eighty pounds, and a hundred pounds were offered to en- 


courage him, " y*^ said Bucknam to settle with us." Subse- 
quently the salary was made ninety pounds. 

Mr. Bucknam did not return his answer of acceptance until 
Oct. 24 following, which Rev. Mr. Wright explains in this 
wise: " As he was a minor when he received the call, it is 
said he delayed his answer several months that he might 
arrive to the age of twenty-one years previous to his deciding 
upon a subject of such magnitude and importance." 

In the town records we have the following entry : — 

" TJie Reverend Mr. NatJian Bucknam s Answer, Given 
October the 25, 1724." 

" To THE Church and People of Medway : 

^''Dearly beloved, — Inasmuch, as it hath pleased the Lord of the har- 
vest, the King and Head of the Church, whose sole prerogative it is to 
send forth such Labourers into his vineyard, as seemeth Him meet, in his 
over-ruling and all wise Providence, so to order it, that you were directed 
at first to invite me to dispense the glorious Gospel of his Grace to you 
in this place, and to render my ministerial labors amongst you so pleasing 
and acceptable, and so to unite your hearts and affections to me, that you 
have so unanimously given me an invitation to settle with you in the 
Great Work of Gospel Ministry, for which I acknowledge with thankful- 
ness his mercy and grace as well as your kindness to me. And whereas, 
He has in his Sovereign Providence so far drawn forth my heart in love 
towards you and has so enlarged your hearts, as that you have made me 
such offers, respecting my settlement and support amongst you, as that, 
I hope by His blessing with it I may, at present comfortably subsist. 
These, therefore, are to let you know, that, relying upon ye Divine Grace, 
blessing, directing and assistance, and depending upon your kindness and 
generosity, that you will not let me want hereafter : but as God shall give 
you ability and my circumstances may require, you will further assist me. 
Upon serious consideration of, and good advice about, a matter of so 
great concern, as it so nearly relates to the glory of God, to your and my 
comfort here and happiness hereafter, I do now, here, openly, heartily 
and cheerfully embrace and accept of your invitation to settle with you in 
the work of ye ministry at Medway. Praying that the God of peace and 
love will continue our mutual love and more and more unite our affections 
to each other and yt "Grace mercy and peace" may be multiplied abun- 
dantly unto you all, and asking your joynt prayers and continual suppli- 
cations to ye God of all grace for me, that I may prove the infinite fullness 
that is in Christ, receive all the Grace yt I shall stand in need of to 


enable me to behave myself wisely in the house of God, and faithfully and 
successfully discharging my duty amongst you, in all the parts of it so 
yt I may not only save my own soul, but yours and all such as shall be 
committed to my trust, that we may all at length meet together, celebrate 
the praises of God and the Lamb, with the church triumphant in the 
everlasting joys of our Lord and Master to whom be Glory, Dominion 
and Power forever and ever. Amen." 

On the following Dec. 23, 1724, occurred the ordination of 
Mr. Nathan Bucknam. 

" This," says Mr. Wright, " was an auspicious and happy 
day to the inhabitants of the town." 

1724. SECOND PASTORATE. 1795- 

This second minister of Medway was born in ■ , Nov 

2, 1703. He was a graduate of Harvard University in the 
Class of 1 72 1, at the age of eighteen years. Mr. Bucknam 
came to Medway, as a candidate for the ministry, at the age 
of twenty, and was settled in the pastoral office at twenty- 

Says Rev. Mr. Wright, " Although Mr. Bucknam was young 
and of slender constitution, he was mature in Christian knowl- 
edge and experience, and strong in the faith and hope of the 
Gospel. At the time of his settlement he was deservedly con- 
sidered as an able, pious, and promising young man ; and much 
was hoped, under God, through the instrumentality of his pub- 
lic and private labors. As to his religious sentiments, they 
were Calvinistic. He firmly believed in those doctrines which 
are usually called the Doctrines of Grace or the Doctrines of the 
Reformation. These he faithfully and unequivocally preached." 
The ministry of the Rev. Nathan Bucknam stretches across a 
period of more than " three-score years and ten." It covers 
nearly half the years that have elapsed since his settlement ; 
it is a longer period than that of the aggregate of the five ne.xt 
succeeding pastorates, which reach to the commencement of 
the present. This surprising period is from 1724 to 1795 ; 

but the last ten years of this time the venerable Pastor was 
relieved of the active duties of his office. 

Rev. Mr. Bucknam kept some brief account of the Church 
and its doings while he was in his active ministry. The 
paper-covers and fly-leaves of this ancient volume of Church 
Records are covered with entries of the marriage ceremonies 
he performed. The first marriage, that the young Mr. Buck- 
nam solemnized, was at the house of Capt. Edward Clark 
(who lived where Mr. Putnam Clark now resides), March 17, 
1725. The happy bridegroom on that occasion was Jonathan 
Metcalf, and the bright-eyed, beautiful bride was the Captain's 
eldest daughter, a young lady of twenty summers. The 
record is carefully made that " they had been posted fifteen 
days as the Law directs." 

Some pages of this ancient Church Record are filled with an 
alphabetical list of Baptisms. The number of these is large, 
since in those days it was counted a blessed privilege by 
parents to consecrate their offspring to the Lord, insomuch, 
that the Half-way Covenant was devised in order that persons, 
who were not experimental Christians, could be admitted 
themselves, with their children, to this holy rite. 

The heading of this list of Baptisms runs thus : — 

''We must believe in the ability, authority and faithfulness of 

Baptism " 

I Peter 3:21. " Whereunto Baptism doth also now save us'' 

'■'■It saves ns by virtue of ye Holy Spirit which accompanies this ordi- 

'•'■ It saves lis, as it admits and incorporates us into ye society and family 
of those who are to be saved. 

"■ It saves lis, as a proper instrument appointed by our Lord for yt pur- 

"// saves lis, as it is a pledge of 3'^ pardon of our sijis, and as it is an 
assurance of our redemption and salvation. 

"<And thus it appears yt salvation was one of ye grand ends of ye institu- 
tion of this sacrament." 

T/uis Dr. Eihuards, of Baptism, p. 580, vol. i. 


Under this substantial heading are recorded alphabetically 
an extended list of Baptisms : — 

E.g., under the letter "A " are registered seventy-four names, 
of which full nine tenths are that of " Adams." 

Under the letter " B " there are seventy-nine recorded, 
among which we find the names Bucknam, Baulch, Bacon, 
Bullard, Bullen, Barbar, Broad, Boyden, Bailey, the catalogue 
under this letter closing with the children of Adam Bullard, 
named Peggy, Cyrus, Jemima, Adam, and Lois. 

Under the letter "C" are entered eighty-five, and nearly 
every name is " Clark." There occur more than once the 
familiar names of Elijah and Abijah and Jotham and David ; 
yet none of these are the ones with us to-day. 

Under the letter " D " are the names of seventy-three 
precious infants, brought in the arms of parental faith and 
love to the Baptismal Font ; and every one is a Daniell or 
Daniels. The last entry made here is this: "Nov., 1788, was 
baptized a child of Jesse Daniels, named Mary." 

Under the letter "P" are a hundred and thirteen names 
recorded ; and we are thus assured that young " Partridges " 
were numerous in those days. 

Thus under each letter is an extended list. And I find 
under the letter " N " these entries : — 

'■'•Sept. 16, 1739. ^ baptized London and Sanil^o, Negroes, the former, 
ye negro of Jasper Adams, y" latter, y^ negro of Wm. Burges." 

'■'■Nov. 29M, 1 741 I baptized Stephen and Charles, negroes, the former 
y« negro of Lieut. Timothy Clark, ye latter y"-' neg''" of Capt. Nath' Whit- 

April 2>°ili, 1758. I baptized Jethro, a mulatto, the servant of Thos. 

"■Oct. 27///, 1782. I baptized my negro woman, Flora." 

This Flora was baptized under the Halfway Covenant. 

Under date of, 

"Dec. 20th, 1741. Upon y" desire of Sam' Harding and wife to have 
a negro child baptized w'> yJ' had took in its infancy for y'"" own. It was 
put to the brethren, whether, they thought masters and mistresses might 
offer up ye servants that they had a property in, in their minority, and they 
had a right to baptism upon y'' account. It passed in the negative." 


The entire list numbers eight hundred and thirty-three 
persons who received baptism in the name of the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost, at the hands of this servant of God, 
Rev. Nathan Bucknam. Then follows a record of those who 
were " received into covenant and put themselves under y® 
vi^atch and care of this Church." This list includes a hundred 
and nineteen persons who came under the " bonds of the Cov- 
enant," and received Baptism for themselves and their children. 
This Halfway Covenant, adopted by the Massachusetts 
Churches in 1662, continued in the practice of this Church 
for eighty-five years, up to the year 1800. Nine persons 
were thus admitted to the early ministry of Rev. Mr. Wright, 
making the whole number thus recorded one hundred and 

" TJie Covenant propounded to those that come under the Bonds 
of the Covenant, read as follows : — 

"You are now in full communion with the church of Christ, purchased 
with the price of his blood ; and you do seriously, freely and forever in 
the presence of God, by whom you expect shortly to be judged and by 
whom you hope to be acquitted, and in the presence of an innumerable 
company of elect angels, and in presence of this assembly, give up 
yourself to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, avouching the Lord 
Jehovah to be your God. You give up yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ 
as unto your Prophet, Priest, and King for ever, promising by the assist- 
ance of the Spirit of Grace to walk in all the commandments and ordi- 
nances of the Lord blameless, answerable to the high and holy vocation 
wherewith you are called. You give up yourself and posterity to this 
Church, submitting to the rule and discipline of it, putting yourself under 
the watch and care of it, promising to embrace counsels and reproofs with 
humility and thankfulness. You promise to attend the worship of God 
with us so long as Divine Providence shall give opportunity, and take all 
possible care to prepare yourself for the holy sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper, and when you have reason to think by the blessing of God, uoon 
your diligent endeavors, you are in some good measure qualified therefor 
you will renew Covenant with God, and wait upon him in that holy insti- 
tution, and walk as becomes a Christian in all holy conversation and 

" This is what you consent to and promise, which being done, it 
follows — 


" We the Church of Christ in this place acknowledge your covenant 
relation to us, and do take you under our Christian watch and care, prom- 
ising to admit you to all these privileges, that thus your sacred relation 
doth or may entitle you unto, and to watch over you with a spirit of meek- 
ness, love and tenderness, as the Gos|)el enjoins us, and to continue our 
ardent prayer to the God of all grace for you that you may have grace to 
keep this covenant that you have in so solemn a manner entered into, 
that the sure mercies of the everlasting covenant may be your portion. 


The above and the Covenant propounded to those who are 
admitted to the ordinance of the Lord's Supper are in the 
same handwriting, but without date. 

" George Adams and his wife, Aug. 25, 1725," were the first 
persons received by Rev. Mr. Bucknam, under this " Half- 
way Covenant," and the last person thus received was ad- 
mitted May 18, 1800, by Rev. Mr. Wright, her name was 
Unice Clark; she subsequently, Jan. 29, 1809, was received 
into the Church, by accepting the Church Covenant, which is 
recorded as follows: — 

" TJie Covenant to be proponnded to those that are admitted 
to the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper: — 

" You are now in full communion with the Church of Christ, purchased 
with tiie price of his blood : and you do seriously, freely and forever in 
the presence of God, by whom you expect shortly to be judged, and by 
whom you hope to be acquitted, and in the presence of an innumerable 
company of Elect Angels, and in presence of this assembly, give up your- 
self to God the Father Son and Holy Ghost, avouching the Lord Jehovah 
to be your God. You give up yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, as unto 
your Prophet Priest and King forever, promising by the assistance of the 
Spirit of Grace to walk in all the commandments and ordinances blame- 
less answerable to the high & holy vocation wherewith you are called. 
You give up yourself and posterity to this Church, submitting to the rule 
and Discipline of it, putting yourself under the watch and care of it, 
promising to embrace counsels and reproofs with humility and thankful- 
ness, and daily to attend the ordinances of Christ in this church as long 
as your opportunity thereby to be edified in your holy faith shall be con- 
tinued to you. 

This you promise. 

We, then, the Church of Christ in this place, do joyfully and charitably 
receive you into our sacred fellowship & communion as one whom we 


hope and trust the Lord has received ; and we promise to admit you to 
all the Ordinances of the Gospel in fellowship with ourselves and to watch 
over you with a spirit of meekness love and tenderness, as your holy re- 
lation unto us calls for : and to continue our arflent prayers to the God 
of all grace for you, that you may have grace to keep the covenant that 
you have now in so solemn a manner, before Angels and us entered into 
that the sure mercies of the Everlasting Covenant may be your portion. 

The first person received by Rev. Mr. Bucknam into this 
Church was Samuel ElHs, under date of April i8, 1725 ; and 
the last name entered upon the list in his handwriting is re- 
corded thus, "June 28, 1789, was admitted into this Church, 
Capt. Jeremiah Daniel." This was the grandfather of the late 
Dea. Paul Daniel The whole number received into the 
Church by Rev. Mr. Bucknam exceeds two hundred. 

Some records of the doings of the Church during the pas- 
torate of Rev. Mr. Bucknam is made under this heading : — 

"The Votes and Acts of y'^ Chh. of Christ in Medway. 

" I, Nathan Bucknam, was ordained Pastor of y*" Chh. Decem- 
ber 23, 1724." 

The items of business transacted by the Church in this long 
period are all recorded in less than seven pages of the old 
Record Book, and pertain mostly to the election of Deacons 
and some three or four cases of Church Discipline, and few 
other matters of Covenant and Church regulation. 

There were no less than thirteen Deacons chosen while Rev 
Mr. Bucknam was pastor. At the first Church Meeting after 
his ordination, Jan. 12, 1725, the record reads, — 

"John Partridge was made choice of for y" first Deacon. At y" same 
meeting also Ebenezer Thompson was chosen Deacon." " At y° same 
meeting likewise put to vote, whether y* sacrament of y" Lord's Supper 
should be administered in y" Chh. every two months. It past in y° affirma- 

The practice of this Church is still in accordance with this 

No other matter except the choice of Deacons seems to have 


come up for action before the Church until "April 12, 1734' 
after Lecture y® Chh. was stayed upon y® uneasiness of" a cer- 
tain brother at the way the Pastor administered the sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper. It was his custom to vary from the 
exact words of the Scriptures, and make some remarks at the 
table. This liberty troubled one brother, and he brought it 
before the Church, and a vote was taken and the course of the 
Pastor sustained by the lifted hands of every voting member 
except the complainant. Record is made of a very solemn 
meeting of the Chh, Oct. 8, 1736 (one hundred and forty years 
ago). The meeting was held in the meeting-house, and the 
great body of the Church was present. After fervent prayer 
was offered, 

"Every one present set their hands to ye covenant in which cove- 
nant in y" 3'3 particular, there is mention made of our \vali<ing as a 
particular Congregational Church of Christ &c. and it is here to be 
observed y' before y^ signing of this covenant I declared over and over 
in ye presence of y" Church, tliat by this 1 would not be understood to 
oblige myself to go in every particular, according to ye platform, and par- 
ticularly to have lay Ruling Elders but, principally, y* ye vote of y* breth- 
ren should be asked and took in every thing y* belonged to you and 
yt there could be no valid act in ye Church without y" consent of ye major 
part of the brethren, and upon this condition and according to this expla- 
nation of y' expression, signed it with y' brethren." 

This shows us Rev. Mr. Bucknam's Congregationalism. 

The Church Covenant here referred to, with signatures at- 
tached, is not probably in existence, but was doubtless iden- 
tical, or nearly so, with the Covenant under which, fourteen 
years after, Oct. 4, 1750, "y^ Rev. Mr. Bucknam gathered 
a Church and pronounced them the Second Church of Christ 
in Medway." The commencement of "Article Third" is as 
follows : — 

"We do give up ourselves to one another in the Lord, and according 

to the will of God freely covenanting and binding ourselves to walk 

together as a particular congregational Chh. of Christ in doctrine and 

discipline," etc. 

Vide Church Records of Medivay, West Precinct. 


This public renewal of Covenant, by each one subscribing 
with his own hand, made the occasion one of deep solemnity. 
And to this act, Rev. Mr. Wright credits largely the deepened 
spirituality in the Church that followed, and which developed 
into a revival of religion in 1741, the most marked that had 
hitherto occurred in the history of this Church, the results 
of which were the addition of some fifty persons to its mem- 

The additions to the Church and the increased spiritual 
strength, with an increased population, led doubtless to the 
formation of 


It appears, that in the twenty-fifth year of Rev. Mr. Buck- 
nam's ministry a movement was made to constitute a Second 
Precinct in the westerly part of Medway. This was owing to 
the great inconvenience to which the people there were sub- 
jected in attending public worship at the old Church, there then 
being no road directly across the Black Swamp, so called, and 
on petition they were granted an Act of Incorporation under 
the name of the West Precinct of Medway, Dec. 29, 1748. 
This West Precinct embraced what was known as the New 
Grant, and small parts of the adjacent towns of Wrentham, 
Bellingham, and Holliston. 

The West Precinct being established, steps were immediately 
taken to build a Meeting-house ; and so rapidly was the work 
carried forward that the West Precinct Meeting-house was 
raised on Thursday, April 6, 1749. This was just three weeks 
before the Second Meeting-house was raised in the East Precinct. 
The buildings were about the same size and in much the same 
style " They were originally," says Rev. Mr. Wright, " very 
decent and commodious buildings ; and at the time they were 
erected were considered the most elegant houses of public 
worship in this vicinity." They were built without steeples, 
and both their external and internal resemblance to each other 


was considered very striking. How soon public religious serv- 
ice was held in the new Church of the West Precinct I am not 
informed. But the pastor of the First Church took a great 
interest in the enterprise, and the Second Church was gathered 
by him. 

It appears that Oct. 4, 1750, was a day set apart for Fasting 
and Prayer, and the record is, "After exercise y° Rev. Mr. 
Bucknam gathered a Church and pronounced them the Second 
Church of Christ in Mcdway," 

On the 8th of October the new Church met and chose one 
Capt. Nathaniel Whiting for their moderator till they should 
have a minister ordained. At this meeting a call was extended 
to a Mr. Jonathan Derby to become their minister. This call 
Mr. Derby declined. The next April (8th), 175 1, Mr. Samuel 
Haven was called to settle. He also declined. And Feb. 14, 
1752, an invitation was extended to Rev. David Thurston, who 
returned his answer of acceptance, dated April 29, 1752, and 
was accordingly ordained the first pastor of the Second Church 
of Christ in Medway, June 23, 1752. 

Rev. Nathan Bucknam preached the Ordination Sermon. 
Rev. Mr. Thurston was a native of Wrentham, and graduated 
at Princetown. He remained Pastor of the Second Church for 
a period of seventeen years, when, at his own request, by rea- 
son of ill health, he was dismissed June 22, 1769. After his 
dismission Mr. Thurston retired from the ministry, and settled 
upon a farm in the town of Oxford ; he subsequently removed 
to Auburn, and afterwards to Sutton, where he died. May 5, 
1777, at the age of fifty years. 

During this first pastorate there were seventy-nine persons 
added to the Church, and twenty-three came under the bonds 
of the Covenant. In a brief biographical notice of Rev. Mr. 
Thurston, Rev. Mr. Blake says, — 

" No materials are in our possession for forming an opinion 
of Mr. Thurston's literary abilities. He is remembered as not 
efficient enough to combat and overcome the difficulties in 


his infant Church. He yielded to them, and escaped by 
resignation. No writings of his are known to exist as an 
index to his attainments as a theologian or skill as a preacher." 
(See Hist, of Mcndoti Assoc) 

In the autumn following Rev. Mr. Thurston's resignation, 
Oct. 23, 1769, the Church invited Mr. Samuel Wales to become 
their Pastor, who declined Jan. 22, 1770. The next October 
Rev. Nathaniel Niles was called, who also declined. Rev. 
Mr. Niles was afterwards for many years the somewhat emi- 
nent minister at Abington. 

Oct. 19, 1772, the Church summoned Rev. Mr. Bucknam and 
some other neighboring ministers to revise their Covenant and 
submit it for their adoption ; and the Covenant, as revised, was 
adopted by the Church. Dec. 14 following, having been desti- 
tute of a settled pastor for more than three years, an invitation 
was given to Mr. David Sanford, who accepted, under date of 
Feb. 13, 1773, was ordained April 14, 1773, and became the 
second Pastor. Rev. Dr. West, of Stockbridge, preached the 
Sermon of Ordination. Rev. Mr. Sanford was a native of New 
Milford, Conn. He graduated at Yale College in 1755. He 
commenced the study of Divinity with Rev. Dr. Bellamy, but 
completed it with Rev. Dr. Hopkins, who was his brother-in-law. 
At the age of thirty-six he was settled in Medway. During 
the Revolutionary War he was appointed Chaplain in the army, 
and served for a short time. While in the active duties of the 
pastorate he received a stroke of paralysis in 1807, which ter- 
minated his public labors ; and after some three years of pain- 
ful illness he died April 7, 18 10, in the thirty-seventh year of 
his ministry and the seventy-third of his life. Rev. Mr. Sanford 
was a man of fine personal appearance, with sharp, piercing 
eyes, commanding presence, and strong, clear voice. He was 
possessed of rare abilities, well-learned in the Scriptures, and 
was eminent as a preacher. He was a power in his own Church 
and in the region. He usually preached without written notes 
and swayed his audience at will. 


In 1775 the Second Church abolished the practice of the Half- 
way Covenant ; in 1776 adopted a written Confession of Faith ; 
and Feb. 8, 1776, held a somewhat remarkable meeting for the 
confession of sins. In this confession, which was drawn up in 
writing, the Church confessed the following sins : — 

"(i.) The Halfway Covenant ; (2.) The neglect of Christian 
watchfulness ; (3.) The neglect of the Discipline of the Church ; 
(4.) The neglect of the Means of Grace." The influence of this 
meeting was most favorable. In the course of Mr. Sanford's 
ministry several seasons of Revival interest were enjoyed. In 
the winter of 1784 about one hundred were brought to Christ. 
Rev. Mr. Sanford was to some extent a writer of articles for 

After an interim of some four years, Rev. Jacob Ide, of 
Attleborough, was ordained pastor of the Second Church, 
Nov. 2, 18 14. Dr. Woods, of Andover, preached the Ordina- 
tion Sermon, and Rev. Mr. Wright, of the First Church, gave 
the Right Hand of Fellowship. Rev. Mr. Ide was a graduate of 
Brown University in 1809, studied theology at Andover, where 
he graduated in 18 12. At the time of his settlement in Med- 
way he was twenty-eight years of age. He married Miss 
Mary Emmons, daughter of Dr. Emmons of Franklin. He 
and his wife are both living. Rev. Dr. Ide is at the advanced 
age of ninety- one years. He has, beside his pastoral labors, 
been an editor, an author, and a teacher of theology ; some 
forty persons have come under his instructions in preparation 
for the Ministry. 

In 1832 Dr. Ide received repeated invitations to assume the 
Chair of Theology in Bangor Seminary, but although urged 
very persistently to accept the position, he finally concluded 
to remain with his people. Oct. 20, 1850, Rev. Dr. Ide 
preached a " Centennial Sermon of the Second Church of 
Christ, in Medway," The text was, " Remember thy congre- 
gation, which thou hast purchased of old : the rod of thine in- 
heritance which thou hast redeemed ; this mount Zion, wherein 


thou hast dwelt." Ps. 74 : 2. This sermon the Church voted to 
publish, but I have never been so fortunate as to see a copy. 

After an active pastorate of some fifty years Rev. Dr. Ide 
retired from public service, and in 1865 Rev. Stephen Knowl- 
ton was settled Colleague Pastor, 

The ministry of Rev. Mr. Knowlton was one of no ordinary 
ability, and greatly blessed. His preaching was with power, and 
many were brought to receive Christ as their Saviour. He 
met some embarrassments, which his successors have not en- 
countered. After a pastorate of some seven years he received 
an invitation to another field of labor, and resigned in order 
to its acceptance, and was dismissed Nov. 20, 1872. 

He was succeeded, the following May 7, 1873, by Rev. S, 
W. Segur, who, after a short but efficient ministry, died in 
the midst of great usefulness, Sept. 24, 1875, universally be. 
loved and lamented. The present Junior Pastor, Rev. James 
M. Bell, was installed Sept. 26, 1876, in whom the hearts of 
the people seem happily united, and he has entered upon a 
ministry of great promise, bringing to it a ripened experience 
and unquestioned ability. 

The Second Church of Christ in a period of a hundred and 
twenty-six years has settled six Pastors, elected ten Deacons, 
and for some years has had the largest membership of any 
Church in the town. It is a daughter of which the mother 
Church has occasion to-day to be proud. 


It is evident from the Records that the members acted in 
harmony, and sustained, with great unanimity, their Pastor, 
Rev. Mr. Bucknam, throughout his long ministry. 

The very few cases of discipline that came up were treated 
with great candor and consideration, in the interest of the 
right and for the purity and good name of the Church. 

More than twenty years passed, and no member was 
arraigned for misconduct ; the first case of discipline was 


that of a member received from another Church by letter. 
Cases of discipline were not infrequent from laxity in this 
matter, as is too often the case now, but because the mem- 
bers were received with great care, and felt responsible for 
a Christian life, without reproach, for the sake of Christ and 
the honor of the Church. . 

To illustrate the strictness of those times : The charge was 
brought and sustained against a certain brother, of dese- 
crating the Sabbath, and he was denied all Church privileges 
until he had given signs of true repentance of his sin, and .had 
made a public confession of the same before the Church in 
the presence of the whole congregation. A dozen years after, 
another case was introduced, in which there was a dispute in 
regard to an account ; and the charge was " the false entry of 
one dollar." This case gave occasion for four different meet- 
ings, and occupied the attention of the Church for a year and 
a half, and was finally disposed of by the public payment of 
the one dollar to the complainant, and the mutual confession 
and Christian forgiveness of the concerned parties. I think 
there were but two other cases in the whole period ; one was, 
that of a member taking personal exception to some other 
member, and on that account absenting himself from the Com- 
munion ; and, on asking the privilege, was allowed to com- 
mune for a season with some other Church, in the hope that 
he would very soon become reconciled to his brother, which 
proved to be true 

The only remaining matter, which seriously engaged the 
attention of the Church, and was recorded by Mr. Bucknam, 
was the admission of certain persons, who were at the time 
under the censure of the Second Church of Christ, to which 
they belonged. 

We find under date of " April 3d, 1778," the following entry, 
" Stayed the Church after Lecture, read the petition of 
Dea" Sam'l Fisher, and Mr. Daniel Pond and several sisters 
of the other Chh. in this Town, desiring they may have the 

favour and liberty of enjoying christian privileges with us, 
the First Chh. of Christ in said Medway." These persons, it 
appears, had become disaffected from the time of his settle- 
ment with the Pastor of the Second Church because, as they 
say, in doctrines, 

" I. He denies imputative guilt. 

2. He denies imputative righteousness, and 

3. He makes God the Author of sin." 

Hence they had absented themselves from the Communion, 
and were under censure of Excommunication. They had 
sought, but been denied, letters to some other Church. They 
had called an ex parte Council, and by their advice made 
request to be received to this Church. 

It was after much inquiry and deliberation, that their request 
was granted ; they were received, Oct. 2, 1778. In conse- 
quence of this procedure, after some correspondence, the 
Second Church withdrew fellowship from this Church ; and 
so, although several unsuccessful attempts were made to re- 
store fellowship, the two Churches, mother and daughter, lived 
estranged for a period of thirty-two years. But at length, while 
Rev. Luther Wright was Pastor, and largely by his efforts, 
through the able instrumentality of Revs. Drs. Prentiss of 
Medfield, and Emmons, of Franklin, the breach was healed. 
The Record states that at that time "all the members re- 
specting whom the controversy originated are gone to stand 
at a higher tribunal than earth affords ; that the members 
of the churches are completely changed." It was, by advice 
of the above-named clergymen, finally agreed by the two 
Churches " that without demanding concessions on either 
part they embrace each other in Church fellowship, in a 
spirit of love & tenderness." And thus a complete recon- 
ciliation was reached, March 11, 1810, at which date the 
First Church writes to the Second Church thus: — 

" And now, brethren, we commend you and ourselves to God, and to 
the word of his grace, which is able to build us up and to give us an in- 


heritance among all them which are sanctified, imploring the divine 
guidance and direction that we may receive each other as becometh 
saints ; that we may walk together in the unity, faith and hope of the 
Gospel of Christ. Finally, brethren, let us feel the weight, and live under 
the influence of this Apostolic direction, 'Be perfect, be of good com- 
fort, be of one mind, live in peace, & the God of love and peace shall be 

with you.' " 

" In behalf of y' church, 

(Signed) • Your servant in the faith and hope of y" Gospel, 

LuTHiiR Wright, Pastor T 

Thus a breach which was made in 1778, thirty-two years be- 
fore, was healed to the joyful satisfaction of all persons in 
both the Churches, fellowship and communion were restored, 
never again, as we trust, to be disturbed. 


Shortly after Rev. Mr. Bucknam's settlement, about the 
year 1730, it appears that there was a subscription raised for 
the purpose as expressed, "To erect an house fifteen feet 
square in some convenient place near the meeting-house for 
our convenience on y'' Sabbath between meetings." This 
subscription paper was headed by " Jonathan Plympton, 
;^3— OS— od." 

This building was boarded on three sides, being open 
toward the south ; in the centre was a large, flat stone, on 
which in cold weather a fire was kindled, there being an 
opening in the roof overhead for the smoke to escape ; and all 
around were pine benches, where the people sat and ate their 
Sabbath lunch. This was called the Noon House. 

This old Noon House or one like it was standing in 18 16, 
which is within the memory of persons now living. It was at 
length superseded by a Parish House, erected in 1822. 

After the burning of the first meeting-house, January, 1749, 
public worship was conducted for a time in the dwelling-house 
of Capt. Joseph Lovell, Esq. The people, however, took im- 
mediate steps to rebuild. 


Hitherto the town had transacted the secular business of 
the Church, but now, by a warrant issued under authority 
of King George II, in the twenty-second year of his reign, 
to one Samuel Harding, Esq., a meeting of the citizens of 
this part of the town was called, and the First Precinct 
in Medway was organized Feb. 3, 1749. At this first 
meeting Samuel Harding, Esq., being chosen moderator and 
precinct clerk : 

It was "Voted to build a meeting-house for the public 
worship of God." " Then voted to choose five men to be a 
committee to manage the affair of building said house, viz. : 
1st, Sam' Harding; 2d, Dea. Thomas Harding; 3d, Lieut. 
Timothy Clark; 4th, Ensg" Joseph Richardson; 5th, Jona. 
Adams, Ju''. Voted 1600 pound old tenor to be assessed on 
polls & estates in said First Precinct, towards building said 
house." This sum was about ;!^2i3 lawful money or ^1,000 
our currency. 

The First Precinct, under date of 

" April 5, 1749, Voted, That ye committee should build the meetins;- 
house 42 feet long & ^;i feet in width and twenty feet high between 
joynts." "Voted that the said meeting-house shall be raised about 
ye width of ye house, toward ye North from ye spot of land where ye old 
meeting-house stood." 

It is said that Adam Bullard, Esq., lies buried just where 

were the steps at the entrance to this second meeting-house. 

It was further, 

" Voted, that ye provision that is to be made for ye raising said meet- 
ing-house shall be by a free contribution, then voted that Samuel Ellis, 
Dea. Barbar, Joshua Partridge and Samuel Hill, shall take care that there 
shall be an equal or suitable quantity of Cyder, Rum & Beer brought to 
said house and a baiting bitt for the men before the Raising be finished." 

The raising of this meeting-house came off on Thursday, 
April 27, 1749. The old house was burned the i8th of the 
previous January ; and thus, in a little over three months, 


the trees that were standing in the forests were felled, drawn 
to the spot, hewn into timber, framed, and raised into a 
meeting-house, about a half larger than its predecessor. The 
2 1 St of May following, just three weeks from the Sabbath 
next after the raising, the people gathered for public worship, 
and Rev. Mr. Bucknam preached for the first time in the 
new meeting-house. Yet it was not finished ; and while 
everything, so far, had gone on very harmoniously and with 
such dispatch, there was yet to come up quite a division 
of feeling and considerable delay before the house was com- 
pleted. The question arose, " whether y*^ Precinct will have 
an Alley three feet and a half wide straight from the great 
double doors to the Pulpit" in their new house. At the 
first meeting of the Precinct to consider this weighty mat- 
ter, they voted not to have it. Another meeting was called, 
and they voted to have the " alley." Then a meeting was 
called to reconsider. There was great excitement through 
the Precinct, meeting after meeting held ; finally, at a crowded 
meeting, they polled the house. All in favor went to one 
side, all opposed, to the other, until counted ; it was found 
that there were twenty-seven in favor of the alley, and 
twenty-two opposed to it ; thus, after a year's delay, great 
stir, much talk and many meetings, it was decided ; and 
the alley was made "from the great double doors straight 
to the pulpit," 

The seating of the new meeting-house was given in charge 
of a committee, who were to make allowance between age and 
estate according to their best judgment. In 1766 Moses 
Richardson, Elijah Clark, and Jonathan Adams were in- 
structed to " seat the meeting-house one pound of estate to a 
year's age as near as may be." 

About ten years after the house was built, the Precinct 
appropriated " three pounds and eighteen shillings to be laid 
out in coloring and repairing the meeting-house." For some 
number of years they paid Rev. Mr. Bucknam " for his negro 


woman keeping the meeting-house, 9s. 4d." In 1769 special 
seats were built for the negroes to sit in. April 30, 1770, 

"Put to vote to see if it be the minds of the Precinct, That the new 
seats built for the Negros at each end of the Public meeting-house in 
said Precinct below, shall be the seats, and the only seats, in the s^ meet- 
ing-house for the Mulattoes, Negros, and Indians of this Precinct to sit 
in, in times of Divine Service, during the Precinct's pleasure." 
" Resolved in the affirmative." 

" Put to vote, to see if it be the minds of the Precinct to prohibit the 
Mulattoes, Negros, & Indians of this precinct, sitting or standing in 
any of the allies or on the stairs of the sf* meeting-house in times of 
Divine Service." 

" Resolved in y« affirmative." 

" Put to vote to see if it be the minds of the Precinct to choose a com- 
mittee of three men, to inform the masters of the Negros Mulattoes 
& Indians of this Precinct, of the above mentioned votes & resolves 
and to desire them in the name of the Precinct to conform themselves 
thereunto and to order their servants into the seats built and provided for 

" Resolved in ye affirmative." 

"Jonathan Adams Cap*. Jona. Adams, and Isaiah Morse was unani- 
mously chosen for the s<i Committee. . ." 

" Put to vote to see if the Precinct will choose a committee of three 
men to prosecute the disobedience or non observance of the afore men- 
tioned votes & resolves of this Precinct relating to the Mulattoes, 
Negros &c." 

" Resolved in the affirmative." 

" Adjourned to last Wednesday in May, 1770," at which time " Moses 
■ Richardson Oliver Adams and Jonathan Adams ye 3d was chosen for the 
s'l committee. 

Then the sd inhabitants granted the sum of Tfi£ — os — od for the 
necessary charge of the s'l committee." 

The following autograph receipt is extant : — 

" Med way, June 18, 1736. Received of Jasper Adams the sum of one 

hundred and forty pounds for a negro boy named London, being in full. 

^140 — o — o. Per me, 

Nathan Bucknam." 

This was in New England, nay, in Medway, a little more 
than a hundred years ago ! 

At the time of his settlement. Rev. Mr. Bucknam was un- 
married ; but after laboring here some four or five years, he 


brought to Medway a wife, in the person of a lady of culture 
and accomplishment, two years younger than himself From 
whence she came and her maiden name are not ascertained. 
To Rev, and Mrs. Bucknam were born nine children, two 
sons and seven daughters. Their names, in order of birth, 
were, Anna, Nathan, Margaret, Mary, Samuel, Elizabeth, 
Catharine, Sarah, and Lucy. All were baptized in infancy. 
The sons died young. The daughters, that lived to grow up, 
all united with the Church and were married well. One of 
them married Dea. Asa Ellis, who removed to Western, now 
Warren. With the enlargement of his family it was not 
strange that the "ninety pounds a year" was found a small 
salary, and especially, as articles of family use grew much 
higher in price. As years wore on it became beautifully, or 
rather, sadly less ; at length Mr. Bucknam made bold to com- 
municate with the town on this subject. I have in hand the 
original document, dated April 24, 1736, and signed "Nathan 
Bucknam," by which he made request as follows : — 

" Mr. Daniel," 

" Be pleased to put it into your warrant for May meeting that it is my 
desire that the Town would take into consideration the circumstances of 
things and allow me something more for my support, in some way which 
they shall think most suitable and best, what they have already granted 
being altogether insufficient as the times now are. 

Medway April 24. 1736, yours to serve, Nathan Bucknam." 

" To be communicated to the rest of yc select men." 

Some ten years later the good man pours out his burdened 
and troubled soul thuswise and heroically.* 

" Christian Friends & Brethren. It is a great Grief & burden to me 
to have the affair of my salary or support come so often into agitation 
which is so unacceptable to you. I am not in the least measure disposed 
to contend with you, but I would remind you of and propose to you a few 
things with relation to the matter before you, which I trust I may do 

* This original document within a few days came to light among old papers in 
the attic of one of our ancient homes. 


without giving any just matter of offence — And in the first place, I would 
remind you that at my first treating with this Town as to my settlement 
and support among them, I considered tliat the then smallness & weak- 
ness, and such as were concerned in Town aiTdirs at that Day, can't but 
be sensible that I accepted of a small salary for that time & for much less 
than they could obtain a Gentleman for, which they invited to settle 
among them before I came, and for considerable less than was adjudged 
to be sufiicient salary for a minister in a family state, by such as were 
most capable of determining such an affair — and as oft as I have laid the 
matter before the Town, my desires, I think, have been always just, rea- 
sonable and moderate (as may be made to appear to Unprejudiced Judges) 
— and now once more I send to you that have power to transact Town 
affairs, the following proposals, which I think, to be so highly just and 
reasonable that Every man that has attained so far as to Moral Honesty, 
must comply with — viz — Either first that the Town chuse a Committee 
of three or five of as Solid, Judicious and Intelligent men as any you 
have among you, who shall Engage to be faithful in searching out and 
acquainting themselves as thoroughly as may be with the price of the 
most Material Articles of Livelihood of food and raiment, and find as 
nigh as they can the disproportion of the prices from the time of my 
settlement and the present, to lay before the Town at May Meeting for 
their acceptance, which when well & duely proportioned, I will sink as 
much out of, as any one man in the Town pays to God and the Country — 
or secondly to leave what the disportion of things are from my setling till 
now, and so what I ought to have, to impartial or disinterested men 
mutually chosen by the Town & myself — Every thing bares such a 
demand that I find that it is absolutely necessary that something be done 
in this affair or I must unavoidably sink and come to nothing — If the 
Town don't see good to Comply with Either of these proposals or to make 
any to me that I can accept of, you will drive me to Commit the affair 
where I trust solid reason will be heard. Every Conclusive Argument have 
its weight and Justice be Awarded, whicli is all I seek, and should be glad 
to have this done in a more private manner, but if that can't be — Those 
that are the cause of a more publick process, I hope will bear the blame, 
for I assure you it is no ways agreeable to me, and I believe will not be 
profitable to you — I would therefore advise & Entreat you to look upon 
it as a matter of weight and Importance, a matter in which Religion and 
Conscience are concerned and well worthy of your most serious Consider- 
ation least you offend God and do iniquity — I wish you the Divine pres- 
ence and Conduct in this, as also in all your affairs. That Peace, Truth 
and Righteousness may ever attend you is the Earnest desire of your 
sincere Friend & Servant of your Souls, 

Nathan Buck.nam. 
"March 9* 1746/' 



What action the town took on receipt of this particular 
communication I do not know. But they were often called to 
vote upon the matter of salary, and especially as money depre- 
ciated ; for in 1757 it took seven pounds and a half to make 
one pound of lawful money. The salary voted Mr. Bucknam 
in 17S0 was £7^0, not far from ;^4,ooo our currency, but 
actually worth less than $500. 

But this matter of minister's salary finally settled down 
upon a basis of about " sixty pounds lawful money." 

In 1788 Mr. Bucknam had a Colleague, when he relin- 
quished his salary for an annuity of fifteen pounds, which he 
receipted for with his own hand on the Parish Book, the last 
time, March 12, 1791, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. 

In the summer of 1778 Rev. Mr. Bucknam was out of 
health, and unable to preach for several months ; and the 
Parish supplied the pulpit at their own expense. 

When past eighty-two years of age, he arranged wuth the 
Parish to settle a Colleague, and terminated his active ministry 
in the sixty-second year of his pastorate, May 14, 1786. 

Rev. Mr. Bucknam preached his Farewell Sermon from the 
text, Jeremiah vi. : 16: "Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the 
ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good 
way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls ; " 
and closed the solemnity by singing the I22d Psalm (Tate and 
Brady's Version), 

"Oh, 'twas a joyful sound to liear," etc. 

Of Rev. Mr. Bucknam's qualities and labors as a minister, 
it appears that he held and preached unequivocally and earn- 
estly the doctrines of the Go.spel of Christ. He was a man of 
quick impulses. " He sometimes," says Mr. Wright, " spoke 
unadvisedly with his lips, under excited feelings, but was soon 
calmed and gave way to the dictates of sober reason and 

He must have been a man of great natural and acquired 
resources and of wonderful administrative ability to have 


retained such a hold upon the people, and to have led the 
Church harmoniously through so many years of active min- 
istration. As we have seen, Rev. Mr. Bucknam closed his 
active ministry May 14, 1786; but he still retained the pas- 
toral relation until his death, which occurred in " the 92'^ year 
of his age, in the 71^' year of his ministry and the ^'j^'^ of his 
married life on Fryday evening February 6*"^ 1795-" 

His funeral was attended on the following Thursday, Feb. 
12, with great solemnity and respect. The procession entered 
the Meeting-house, where Rev. Dr. Thomas Prentiss, of Med- 
field, delivered a discourse on the text, 2 Peter, i : 13-14: "I 
think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up 
by putting you in remembrance ; Knowing that shortly I must 
put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath 
shewed me." 

" The discourse," says Dea. Clark, of that day, in his Diary, 
" was well adapted to the occasion. Rev. Jason Haven, of 
Dedham, and Rev. Benjamin Caryl, of Dover, conducted the 
devotional service. Afterwards the procession proceeded to 
the grave, from thence to the dwelling-house ; the Church walk- 
ing before the procession." 

Mrs. Bucknam survived her husband only a little more than 
a year. She died on Sabbath evening. May i, 1796, in the 
ninety-first year of her age ; she was buried on the next Thurs- 
day. The service was in the Meeting-house, and conducted by 
Rev. Jason Haven of Dedham. 

There are numerous traditional reminiscences of the old 
minister, Rev. Nathan Bucknam, still rehearsed in the Parish. 
An attemxpt was once made to poison himself and family by 
a basket of meat, left on his door-step at evening; but his 
faithful negress. Flora, being suspicious of evil, first cooked a 
piece -for the cat, and in a very few minutes the pet pussy of 
the minister's house was no more. When Flora told her 
master what had transpired, Mr. Bucknam is said to have 
replied to her, " I shall live my appointed time." It is said 


that to the close of his hfe he took his food from a pewter 

He was proverbially an honest man, and so taught his 
people ; and to this day, people say, " As honest as tJiey ivere 
in Parson Bticknavi s day ! " There are now living and in 
this audience before me, two persons, and the only that I 
know, who remember to have seen the second Pastor of this 
Church. I refer to Mr. Oliver Phillips and Joseph L. Richard- 
son, Esq. 

The tradition is, " that, although preaching industriously to 
this Church so many years. Rev. Mr. Bucknam had upwards of 
sixty MS. sermons in advance of those he had opportunity to 

Rev. Mr. Wright says of this honored servant of God, 
" Although he survived his public labors, he did not survive 
the affections of his people. Indeed, his praise was in all the 
Churches. Many were witnesses of his fidelity and enlight- 
ened zeal, of his laborious and persevering exertions to pro- 
mote the spiritual interests of the people of his charge. His 
memory will be cherished with respect by this people." 

After Rev. Mr. Bucknam retired from active service, his 
pulpit was supplied for a time by a Rev. Mr. Andrews, and 
subsequently by Rev. Walter Harris. The latter was a favor- 
ite student of theology with Dr. Emmons ; and his name is of 
some interest to me, as he was subsequently settled the first 
Pastor of the Church in Dunbarton, N. H., my native town, 
where he preached for forty years. He was the Pastor of my 
parents and my grandparents. I can just remember him. Dr. 
Han-is stood a prince among the ministers of that region ; he 
was in fact the Dr. Emmons of New Hampshire. 

Early in the year 1787 (z. ^., Feb. 26) the Rev. Benjamin 
Green was engaged to supply the pulpit as a candidate for 
settlement. The Church, and the Parish also, were deeply 
impressed that to settle a minister was a grave responsibility, 
something which they nor their fathers had done ; for a 


minister had not been ordained pastor here for sixty-three 
years, since their grandfathers' day. So affected were they, 
that the Church called a special Day of Fasting and Prayer in 
view of it. And we find the Parish in public meeting, March 
29, 1787, voting,— 

" That we will join with the Church in this place, in setting 
apart a Day of Fasting and Prayer for direction in calHng and 
settling a Gospel Minister in this place." 

That day was observed by both Church and Parish. As we 
have seen, Rev. Mr. Bucknam, April 25, 1787, relinquished his 
salary and accepted an annuity of ;£i5, as he says, — 

'' For the sake of peace and that the way may be plain, and all obstruc- 
tion with respect to the resettlement of the Gospel ministry removed." 

June 13, 1787, a call was extended to Rev. Benj. Green to 
settle as Colleague Pastor. This call Mr. Green declined, and 
assigned this reason, "That the salary voted he judged not 
sufficient for that purpose." 

The following August, the call was renewed, and a com- 
mittee of the Parish called on Mr. Green to communicate their 
action and confer in regard to the salary. Mr. Green returned 
answer, " That he was otherwise engaged and therefore would 
not confer on that subject." 

However, Feb. 12, 1788, the call was again renewed, the 
salary to be ^75 during Mr. Bucknam's life, with a settlement 

of ;^200. 

This third call was accepted, and Mr. Green remitted ^5 of 
his salary to the Parish, for which generosity they passed a 
vote of thanks. 

Rev. Benj. Green was ordained June 25, 1788, Colleague 

Pastor of the First Church of Christ. Rev. Mr. Gushing, of 

Waltham, preached the sermon, taking for the text, i Cor. i : 

22-24 '• 

" For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom : But 
we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto 
the Greeks foolishness ; But unto them which are called both Jews and 
Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 


Rev. Mr. Clark, of Lexington, delivered the Charge to the 
Pastor; and the Right Hand of Fellowship was given by Rev. 
Elijah Brown, of Sherborn. 

It is said that Joseph Lovell, Esq., entertained the Council 
and learned gentlemen present on the occasion at his own 
expense, and that some two hundred persons sat down to 
dine at tables spread under the elm trees near his house. 
These trees are still standing. 

1788 THIRD (colleague) PASTORATE 1793- 

Rev. Mr. Green was a graduate of Harvard University in 
the Class of 1784. He commenced preaching in Medway as 
a candidate early in 1787, but was not settled for more than a 
year after. His ministry continued only about five years. He 
was dismissed at his own request, Feb. 28, 1793, some two 
years prior to Mr. Bucknam's death. 

Scarcely any records remain of the Church under the pas- 
torate of Rev. Mr. Green. Mr. Wright says " eleven persons 
were received to the Church under this ministry." Near its 
close, and the probable occasion of Mr. Green's resignation, 
there were evil surmisings sown, by evil-minded persons, 
through the Parish, and scandalous stories circulated, so that 
great excitement for a time prevailed. But from the best 
sources of information, there were no valid grounds for the 
evil reports ; and when matters were sifted, and the truth 
known, the cloud upon the good name of the abused Pastoi 
was lifted and scattered, and the pastoral relation dissolved in 
" mutual charity with each other, and mutually recommending 
each other to the grace of God and the charity of all " 

Upon leaving Medway, Rev. Mr. Green removed to Ber- 
wick, Maine. He left the ministry, became a lawyer, and was 
subsequently a judge of some eminence in that State. 

He is said to have been a man of fine abilities, and much 
respected for his talents and acquirements. Doubtless, 


but for the blight of a surmising and malicious tongue, he 
might have served in the ministry here for many years with 
acceptance and success. He preached his Farewell Sermon, 
March 17, 1793, taking for the text, Acts 20: 24-27, 32 : " But 
none of these things move me," etc. This Discourse was 
printed and widely circulated, by the wish of many of his 

It has been told me, that a last and very important service 
was rendered by Judge Green to his old Parish years after 
his dismission. Being in Boston, he was met by his old 
friend Joseph Lovell, Esq., who was there to appear for East 
Medway in Court in some case involving large interests. 
The lawyer engaged to attend to the case did not handle it 
successfully, and it was quite apparent that it would go against 
East Medway. At this juncture, Mr. Lovell asked Judge 
Green to appear and speak in its behalf, which he did, and 
the case, that all thought lost, was gained. Having spoken, 
Judge Green suddenly disappeared from the court-room ; and 
his friend, Mr. Lovell, had no time even to thank him for the 
service, and never saw him afterward. 

It was shortly after the dismission of Rev. Mr. Green, that 
the Parish voted to give up the practice of seating the Church, 
i. e., according to dignity by reason of age and estate. This 
old custom, at which we now smile, was in those days a 
matter of great importance, as for example : there was a Parish 
Meeting called March 30, 1785, for this purpose, viz., — 

" To hear the Petition of Oliver Richardson & others, to try the minds 
of the Parish Ijy a vote, to see whether the front pews in the gallery is 
higher in dignity than the 2"^ seats in the side galleries, and if passed in 
the Affirmative to direct the seating Committee to make such alteration in 
the Galleries as shall be reasonable." 

And at the meeting it was voted, — 

" That Front pews in the Gallery is higher in Dignity than the second 
seats in the side Gallery." 

And the Committee was instructed accordingly. 


So much for Dignity in the House of God. But customs 
change, and this could not stand in a country where all men 
were to be equals before the Law, and equals before the Lord, 
the Maker of them all 

It appears that it was voted to give a certain portion of the 
Gallery to those who would lead in the singing in public ser- 
vice ; and since the power of song did not depend on " age or 
estate," persons of mixed dignity must, if they sat in the place 
assigned, be thrown together. It was a perplexity ; and nine 
substantial citizens were chosen a Committee to deliberate 
what could be done. They were men of good sense, of prog- 
ressive ideas, and reported in favor of abandoning the old habit 
of "seating the Church," and accordingly, April 25, 1794, the 
Parish voted to sell the pews for one year to the highest 
bidder. The renting of pews has been the ordinary practice 
ever since. 

After the leaving of Rev. Mr. Green, the Church and Society 
were for some time in an unsettled state ; and in this interim, 
before the next Pastorate, a period of some five years, the 
Pulpit was supplied by more than twenty different candidates. 

Among them were Rev. Messrs. Samuel P. Bailey, Daniel 
C. Sanders, Simeon Dagget, Aaron Green, Benjamin Freden- 
burg, Ebenezer Withington, Bezaleel Pinneo, Nicholas B. 
Whiting, Jairus Remington, Jacob Abbott, William Mason, 
M. Fletcher, Isaac Braman, James Hawley, John Ripon, Silas 
Warren, Luther Wright, Timothy Williams, Nathan Tilton, 
and William Bigelow. 

In 1 794 a call was extended to Rev. Aaron Green, but the 
vote was not unanimous, especially in the Society ; and on 
reconsideration the Society voted not to concur with the 
Church. Whether this was because of objection to the man, 
or a prejudice still existing in the Parish against the name of 
Green, I am not informed. 

Two years after, in 1 796, a call was extended to Rev. Isaac 
Braman, which, although not unanimous, was accepted ; and 


the day of his ordination was appointed, and the Ecclesiastical 
Council met June 21, 1796, and after protracted deliberation 
concluded not to ordain the Pastor Elect, but adopted the 
following Minutes : — 

" Considering the divided state of the Church and Society we think 
that neither Mr. Braman's comfort and usefulness nor the peace and 
prosperity of the Church and Society would be promoted by his continu- 
ance and settlement among them. We therefore advise Mr. Braman 
to withdraw his Affirmative Answer and the Church and Society to con- 
sent, without proceeding to complete their proposed connections, which 
they may do by adopting this result." 

Which was accordingly done. 

This Mr. Isaac Braman was subsequently settled in Row- 
ley, that part now known as Georgetown. He was ordained 
there June 7, 1797, Pastor over the First Church, now 
called the Peabody Memorial Church, where he fulfilled a 
distinguished ministry of some fifty-five years. 

So we see, that a minister not good for one place may be 
good for some other Parish. His widow, a second wife, still 
resides in Georgetown. 

The Pulpit of the First Church continued vacant another 
year, and was supplied by various candidates. Since the dis- 
mission of Rev. Mr. Green there had been more than twenty 
candidates employed ; the one supplying was a Mr. Bigelow. 
It was a beautiful summer Sabbath morning, the roses were 
in bloom, and the birds were praising God with their sweetest 
carols, June the 25th, 1797, just nine years since the ordination 
day of the last Pastor, there appeared in the pulpit, in place 
of the regular candidate, a young minister, a graduate of 
Harvard University the year before, who interested the con- 
gregation very much. This young minister was Luther 
Wright, and when their present engagements were up, the 
Parish Committee arranged with him to supply the pulpit for 
three months, which he did with great acceptance. 



Mr. Wright then went to Brentwood, N. H., where he 
preached several months ; but while there the Church and 
Parish united in giving him a call to return to Medway and 
become their Pastor. This call to Mr. Wright was dated Jan. 
4, 1798, and the salary offered was $26!;. 67, with a settlement 
of $666.67, to be paid within two years; under date of April 
29, 1798. Rev. Mr. Wright returned answer as follows: 

"To THE First Church and Religious Society in Medway: 

Gentlemen, — Whereas you have been disposed, under the permission 
of Providence, to give me an invitation to settle with you as your Gospel 
Minister, and having, I trust, duly considered and deliberated upon the 
important subject, I shall improve the present opportunity to answer 
your invitation. 

I am not insensible of the important consequences which my decision 
must involve, not only as it respects myself, but more especially this 
Church and Society. The issue of my determination I view as not merely 
connected with our temporal happiness, but with our spiritual and eternal 
interest. The subject, therefore, is equally interesting to us both. Pre- 
vious to my determination I have taken into consideration every known 
circumstance connected with this event. Your transactions to this effect 
1 hope and trust have been the result of dispassionate and serious deliber- 
ation. The auspicious unanimity manifested in your invitation, and in 
the greater part of relative proceedings, has been a consideration highly 
influential in my decision. The advice of ministers and friends has been 
solicited and the direction of Heaven fervently implored. 

Having thus seasonably and prayerfully attended to this subject, I con- 
ceive it my duty to accept and do hereby publicly declare my acceptance of 
your invitation to settle with you in the great work of the Gospel Ministry. 

Although 1 view the encouragement provided in my salary as inadequate 
to a comfortable support, under the present state of articles of life, yet 
in confidence that you will be disposed to make such further provision, 
as your ability will allow and my situation require, I have thought it 
proper to accept that part of the encouragement without alteration. 

And I now earnestly request you to beseech the Father of mercies 
that through his grace he would enable me faithfully to discharge the 
great work to which I am called : that I may be enabled to inculcate, 
both by precept and example, in public and in private the doctrines and 
duties of our Holy Religion. And may the God of all grace grant, that 
you and your posterity may receive not only temporal but spiritual ad- 
vantage from the preaching and ordinances of the Gospel. 




Rev. Mr. Wright was " ordained to the momentous work of 
the Christian Ministry," and installed Pastor of this Church 
June 13, 1798. Fourteen Churches were represented in the 

Rev. Josiah Bridge was chosen Moderator. Rev. Moses 
Adams, of Acton, the former instructor of the Pastor elect, 
preached an appropriate Ordination Sermon from Isa. 50 : 7. 
— " For the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be 
confounded ; therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I 
know that I shall not be ashamed." The Charge to the Pastor 
was given by the Moderator, who was to become, two years 
later, the young minister's father-in-law. Rev. Thomas Pren- 
tiss, of Medfield, gave the Right Hand of Fellowship. 


Rev. Luther Wright was born April, 1770. 

He graduated at Harvard in the Class of 1796, and publicly 
professed Christ and became a member of the First Church in 
Cambridge in November of the same year, Rev. Abiel Holmes 
being the Pastor; and the 13th of June, 1798, was ordained 
Pastor of this Church. 

Rev. Mr. Wright was not married for nearly two years after 
his settlement. 

It appears from the " Massachusetts Mercury," that on the 
very day that the " Death of Washington " was announced in 
Boston, which was Dec. 23, 1799 (nine days after its occur- 
rence, the time it took then for news to come from Washington 
to Boston), there was a wedding at the Parsonage in East 
Sudbury, and the good Parson's daughter Nancy was the Bride, 
and the young Minister of Medway the happy Bridegroom. 

This is the printed record under " Marriages," in the " Mas- 
sachusetts Mercury Jan. 3, 1800": "At East Sudbury, on 
Monday, 23d ult.. Rev. Luther Wright of Medway to Miss 


Nancy Bridge, daughter of the Rev. Josiah Bridge." And 
soon after, the Pastor of Medway brought his young bride to 
town ; and they settled down in the house now occupied by 
our venerable friend, Oliver Phillips, Esq. There they con- 
tinued to reside during his ministry of some seventeen years. 
Rev. Mr. Wright, in person, was a short, thick-set man, of fair, 
full countenance, still remembered by some here present. A 
good lithograph of him hangs on the wall of the house where 
he lived. 

Rev. Mr. Wright's ministry was a useful one. Some fifty 
persons were added to the Church, and during the first and 
last years of his Pastorate there were seasons of marked re- 
freshing from the Lord. He was devoted to his work, and 
while he met with some discouragements, he was loved by his 
people, and showed himself a man of ability and sagacity. He 
was largely the instrumentality of bringing about the renewed 
fellowship of the First and Second Churches, after an aliena- 
tion of thirty-two years. 

During his ministry there came up a case of discipline, which 
engaged the Church for a long time. 

It was concerning an alleged embezzlement in the settle- 
ment of an estate. The property said to have been wrong- 
fully appropriated consisted of " one Bolster and two Pillows 
and seven yards of new Cloth belonging to said estate." The 
complaint was first introduced Dec. 26, 1802, and on consid- 
eration was not entertained ; but it was persistently urged 
upon the attention of the Church, giving occasion for innu- 
merable meetings, which resulted, at last, in the calling of an 
Ecclesiastical Council of the most prominent Churches, from 
Dedham to Worcester, This was in 1808, six years after the 
case was first brought into the Church. 

This Council met Oct, 18, 1808, Tuesday, and remained in 
session five days, until the following Saturday ; and the result 
reached and unanimously voted was, that, — 


"The charge was not sustained, but that the complainant had violated 
his Covenant in absenting himself from the Holy Communion : Because 
a supposed offence of a member of a Church does not warrant the offended 
member to abstain from the performance of his duty." 

This case illustrates how much trouble, without any good 
ground, one member may give the Church, — " How great a 
matter a little fire kindleth." 

Nov. 4, 1 813, Rev. Luther Wright preached a Centennial 
Sermon of the Town, a copy of which the Selectmen requested 
for printing, and it was accordingly published. To this Ser- 
mon I am indebted for some of the facts herein presented. 

In the latter part of Rev. Mr. Wright's ministry a move- 
ment was started, and work actually commenced, on a new 
meeting-house, the third in order of erection. 

Various discouragements and certain scandalous stories cir- 
culated led Rev. Mr. Wright to resign his pastorate. His 
Letter of Resignation was read to the Congregation on the 
Sabbath, July 9, 181 5. A Council was called, and investigated 
the rumors adverse to the character of Mr. Wright, at his own 
request, and found no grounds whatever for the slightest sus- 
picion to rest on his good name. Finally he was dismissed by 
advice of Council, Sept. 20, 1815, "who unanimously voted" : 

" That Rev. Luther Wright be recommended in his moral, Christian, 
and ministerial character to the fellowship of the Churches and to employ- 
ment in the Ministry of the Gospel." 

The Church, at a meeting held Sept. 13th, voted unani- 
mously the following : — 

" Whereas the Rev. Luther Wright is about, in the Providence of God, 
to remove from us, and to have his pastoral relation to us dissolved, we 
owe it to truth and justice to express our belief, that during his Ministry 
amongst us he has been able and faithful in this important work, and we 
do express our approbation of his Christian and ministerial character, and 
we do with sentiments of friendship and Christian affection recommend 
him and his ministerial labors to sister Churches wherever God in his 
providence may call him." 

(Signed) " Asa Daniels, Jr., Moderator pro temP 


Rev. Mr. Wright preached his Farewell Discourse Oct. r, 
1815 (just sixty-one years ago this day), taking for his Text, 
Acts 2 : 29 : " Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto 
you." On the same day he administered the Communion, and 
there were presented two children for Baptism. One was the 
son of Marcus Richardson, who received the name of " Simon 
Hill," for the Senior Deacon of the Church ; and the other, the 
Son of Samuel Seaver, was named " Luther Wright," for the 
retiring Pastor. 

Rev. Mr. Wright's Printed Sermons are, a Discourse 
preached May 25, 1806, at the Funeral of Capt. Cyrus 
Bullard, Master of the Brig Litteller, who died on his third 
voyage, April 13, 1806, of fever, on the Island of St. Thomas, 
at the age of twenty-six years. Capt. Bullard was a young 
man of great promise. The Text chosen was, Jer. 45 : 3 : 
" Thou didst say. Woe is me now ! for the Lord hath added 
grief to my sorrow: I fainted in my sighing and I find no 
rest " ; and a Discourse already referred to, Centennial of the 
Town, the Text being Exodus 12: 14: "This day shall be 
unto you for a memorial." 

After his removal from Medway, Rev. Mr. Wright resided 
for a time in East Sudbury, to which Church he took a Letter 
of Dismission. Subsequently he removed to Woburn, where 
he lived some years. 

He was accustomed to visit Medway occasionally. I am 
told that he was here on his eightieth birth-day and preached 
to his old people, taking this Text, Joshua 14: 10: " Lo ! I 
am this day fourscore." This was his last visit to the scene of 
his early labors in the Gospel ministry. 

He lived to be eighty-eight years and two months old, and 
died June 21, 1858. Mrs. Wright survived him nearly three 
years, and died Feb. 23, 1861, aged eighty-four years eleven 
months and eight days. The graves of this aged pair are in 
the cemetery in Woburn, Mass. 



Early in 1813 a movement was started by Joseph Lovell, 
Esq., and others, to build a new meeting-house. A vote of the 
Parish was obtained the sixth of September following. The 
location selected was Bullard's Hill, somewhat to the south- 
ward of the old meeting-house. Some three acres of land were 
purchased of Mr. Adam Bullard, who gave one acre in addition, 
and small parcels of land adjacent were also given by Mr. Asa 
Darling, Timothy Hammond, Esq , and Mr. Jonathan Bullen, 
amounting in all to nearly fi^^ acres. 

These were liberal grounds for the proposed edifice. 
The site chosen on which to erect the building was the 
very summit of the hill, obliging much labor and expense 
in so grading it, as to make it accessible by carriage, or on 
foot. The ascent, after all, some of you will remember, was 
very steep. These lands in later times were purchased of 
the Parish by Maj. Geo. Holbrook, and are still retained in 
possession by his descendants. The avails, $200, were 
expended in grading and fencing the grounds about our 
present House of Worship. 

The plan of the new meeting-house made the dimensions 
fifty-three feet square, with a projection in front of thirty feet 
by fifteen. The posts were twenty-nine feet, and it was voted 
to build a " steeple instead of a cupola ; " with this exception, 
and some other slight changes, it was to be built after the plan 
of the new meeting-house, then building in West Medway. No 
steeple, as yet, had been builded in the town, and the old East 
Parish said, " We must have a steeple to our new Church." But 
alas ! whether in rebuke, or not, of an undue pride is not deter- 
mined ; but certainly, to the grief of the builder, this first steeple 
did not stand long, for it had hardly pierced the skies, was yet 
unfinished, when that fearful gale of Sept. 23, 181 5, came, took 
it completely off, hurled it to the ground, and broke it into 
a thousand fragments. But the generous people came to the 


help of the contractor and speedily the steeple was rebuilt 
and held its lofty place until the meeting-house was taken 
down and removed to serve other purposes. 

The Building Committee chosen were Mr. Theodore Clark, 
Joseph Lovell, Esq., Messrs. Comfort Walker, Moses Adams, 
and Thomas Harding. 

The building contractor was Malachi Bullard. The cost 
was six thousand and six hundred dollars. 

This new house of worship was near completion : when 
the first church-bell was cast in Holbrook's Bell Foundry. 
The happy thought seized the Parish to purchase it ; and, ac- 
cordingly, it was hung aloft in the new Church-steeple May 13, 
1 8 16, where it pealed forth its glad tones each Lord's Day for 
many years, reminding the people of the Sabbath and God's 
worship in the Sanctuary. 

The house completed, the pews were appraised, " except the 
First Pew at the right hand of the Broad Alley, which is to 
be left for the use of the Minister of the Parish." 

The Communion Table and the Minister's Chair were made 
by the skilled cabinet-maker of the Parish, Mr. Eleazer 
Daniels. The former is still in useful service in the Vestry 
below ; the latter stands in your Pastor's Study. 

Public Worship was held in the new meeting-house for the 
first time Sept. 8, 18 16, and it was dedicated Nov. 20, 1816. 
It continued to be occupied for worship until 1850, thirty-four 
years. It was then sold, taken down, removed to Rockville, 
re-erected, and now stands, bereft of its tall spire, emptied of 
its former glory, a gloomy, unoccupied building, with no 
token of its original sacredness. 

The Parish Hall, which was erected in 1822, was sold, re- 
moved, and made into a dwelling-house, which stood on the 
site now occupied by the Parsonage, but was burned to the 
ground in 1871. To-day there is nothing to remind one that 
the three first Meeting-houses of this Church, with their 
adjuncts, viz. Noon House, Parish Hall, and Horse-sheds, 


for almost a century and a half, occupied yonder sand- 
hill, through which now passes the railroad cut, and the 
steam-car whistles on its iron way, — thoughtless, that once 
just overhead were the Sanctuary and the Pulpit, where 
the good Parson preached his Gospel Sermons and said 
his Sunday Prayers. 

Not long after Rev. Mr. Wright's dismission, the Parish 
Committee secured the services of a young minister from 
Canton as a candidate. Accordingly one Sabbath morning 
there ascended the pulpit-stairs of the old First Church a 
young man of fine personal bearing. When he stood up to 
read the hymn the congregation were peculiarly struck by 
the contrast presented with their old minister. Rev. Mr. 
Wright was exceeding short, this young candidate was exceed- 
ing tall. As all marvelled inwardly at his height, some 
whispered, " Surely our pulpit has a minister in it to-day 
nearer Heaven in one respect than any one who ever stood 
in it before ! " But by the time he had concluded the 
service, many thought that he must be nearer Heaven in 
another sense also ; for he prayed and preached with no 
common unction and power. Rev. Luther Bailey made a 
good impression on the Medway people, and very shortly 
Church and Parish agreed in sending him an invitation to 
settle as their Minister. 

The annual salary was to be six hundred dollars and his 
settlement two hundred dollars. Some correspondence passed 
between the parties, and Rev. Mr. Bailey finally returned bis 
answer of acceptance, as follows : — 

" To THE Church and Society in the East Parish of Medway . — 

Brethren and Friends, — You having by the direction of Providence, 
as I trust, proceeded to request me to settle with you in this Gospel min- 
istry, I have seriously and prayerfully attended to the subject. Although 
every circumstance is not yet fully decided, yet as much time has already 
elapsed since your invitation, which has nearly exhausted your patience, — 
and I confess I have become weary of suspense, — it is thought advisable 


that the answer be given conditionally, leaving these circumstances to be 
hereafter arranged. 

I am very sensible, my Christian friends, of my inadequateness to this 
important and interesting work. Under this impression I am desirous of 
taking to myself humility. Every uninspired man ought to remember the 
words of an inspired Apostle, ' Who is sufficient for these things .-' ' But 
the great Head of the Church has declared to every faithful servant, ' My 
grace is sufficient for thee ; thy strength shall be equal to thy day.' Re- 
lying upon this grace and promise, not, however, without trembling lips 
for my unworthiness ; and feeling a desire to be useful, if possible, to my 
fellow-creatures, and particularly to advance the Redeemer's cause among 
you, my friends, I answer your invitation in the affirmative. 

May the Great Head of the Church bless this union. I shall need 
not only the promised assistance of the Spirit, but your indulgence, your 
charity, your prayers. These I have no doubt I shall receive. I am 
resolved with you to spend and be spent in the cause of our Divine 
Redeemer, determining 'to know nothing among you' in preference to 
'Christ and Him Crucified.' When He shall appear, it is my ardent 
prayer that we, with all the ' redeemed of the Lord, may also appear with 
Him in glory.' For this purpose may He bless his own word and work. 

(Signed) Luther Bailey." 

Taunton, Aug. 14, 18 16. 

About this time the new meeting-house was near comple- 
tion, and it was voted to hold public worship in it the second 
Sabbath in September. Accordingly, Sept. 8, 18 16, the first 
service was held in the new house ; and arrangements were 
completed to have the Dedication and the Ordination fall 
upon the same day. The day appointed was Nov. 20, 18 16; 
accordingly a large Council was called, and the representatives 
of twenty-four churches met on the great occasion. The exami- 
nation of the candidate was highly satisfactory, and the Council 
proceeded to the public services of the Dedication and the 
Ordination. Rev. Daniel C. Sanders, d. d., of Medfield, 
preached the Dedication Sermon from the Text, 2 Chron. 5:14: 
" The glory of the Lord had filled the house." Rev. James 
Wilson, of the Second Church in Providence, made the Dedi- 
catory Prayer. Rev, Edward Richmond, d. d., of Stoughton, 
preached the Ordination Sermon. Text, John 13:35. Rev. 


Dr. Sanders made the Ordaining Prayer. Rev. George 
Morey, of Walpole, gave the Charge to the Pastor, and the 
Rev. Jacob Ide, then recently settled over the Second 
Church in Medway, gave the Right Hand of Fellowship. 
Rev. Dr. Ide, now ninety-one years of age, is probably the 
only one of that large Council of fifty-four persons, who is 

now living. 

The record made by the Scribe concludes thus : " All things 
having been done decently and in order, the Council was dis- 

Rev. Joshua Bates, of the First Church in Dedham, was the 
Scribe. One of this Council, gathered from the Churches 
within forty miles, was Rev. Wm. Cogswell, then the young 
Pastor of the Third Church in Dedham, who was the father of 
the present Pastor's wife. The Ordination of Rev. Mr. Bailey 
and the Dedication of the then elegant Church edifice fell on 
the one hundred and first anniversary of the settlement of the 
first Pastor, Rev. David Deming, which occurred Nov. 20, 
17 1 5. The sermons preached were printed. 


Rev. Luther Bailey was born in Canton, Mass., 1783, and 
first united with the Church of his native town. He graduated 
at Brown University in the Class of 1808. He married a Miss 
Anne Peck, of Providence, R. I , a young lady of an intelligent 
and independent mind. In 181 1 he was the Preceptor of 
Bradford Academy, and subsequently, of Taunton Academy 
for some five years ; while at Taunton, he preached for some 
time in Mendon and supplied other pulpits in the vicinity 
occasionally. He was a brother of Hon. John Bailey, who 
was for some years a Member of Congress from this State. 

At the time of Rev. Mr. Bailey's settlement there were 
seventy-four members of this Church. During his ministry 
there were added about a hundred and forty persons, mostly 


by confession of faith. The largest accessions were in the 
years 1827 and 1834. But no year of his ministry passed 
without some additions. He must have been a very faithful 
and laborious Pastor. He met with some peculiar trials, 
owing to the great controversy which arose in the Churches 
of this State about that time, in regard to the Person of 
Christ. But, although troubled at the division in his own 
Society near the close of his ministry, he bore himself with 
remarkable prudence, and retained the respect and con- 
fidence of his people, as a good man and devoted Christian 

After a pastorate of nearly twenty years. Rev. Mr. Bailey 
asked a dismission, which was granted, by advice of Ecclesi- 
astical Council, Dec. 29, 1835. In the Result of Council this 
was adopted, — "That the Covmcil recommend the Rev. Lu- 
ther Bailey, as a Minister of the Gospel in good and regular 
standing, and they do hereby commend him as a faithful min- 
ister of Jesus Christ to the affection and confidence of the 

About the time of Rev. Mr. Bailey's settlement, the First 
Sabbath School in the town was organized. A little after, a 
Weekly Prayer Meeting was started in Rockville on Saturday 
evenings (this was in 1822) by the efforts, principally, of 
two earnest Christian men living in that part of the Parish. 
I refer to Mr. Timothy Walker, afterward Deacon of this 
Church, and for many years the Superintendent of the Sab- 
bath School, and Mr. Matthew Brown, vvho afterward suc- 
ceeded Dea. Walker as Superintendent of the Sabbath School. 
Both these gentlemen are now living, and the former gladdens 
us with his presence on this occasion. Mr. Brown was quite 
tried, I am told, at first, as to what he should do. He was 
expected to be at his place of business at all hours of day and 
evening; and on Saturday night, of all other times, his patrons 
expected to find him at his post. However, he decided to attend 
the Prayer Meeting, and accordingly posted a notice, politely 


informing his customers, that for one hour, naming the time, 
on Saturday evenings, he should be engaged ; at all other 
times he should be happy to serve them. The result was, his 
business prospered even better than before, showing that it 
is not a vain thing to serve God, to be fervent in spirit as 
well as diligent in business. 

This meeting was sustained for years with much interest 
and good result. 

It was in 1822 that the Parish Hall was built, much to the 
accommodation of the young and prosperous Sabbath School, 
which occupied it for many years. 

In the year 1828 this Church voted to hold the Monthly 
Monday Prayer Meeting, the object of which was to pray for 
Foreign Missions, which at that day was a new and exciting 
enterprise undertaken by the Churches. 

The only printed Sermon by Rev. Mr. Bailey that has come 
under my notice, is one that was preached on the Sabbath, 
Oct. 17, 1830, at the Funeral of Miss Betsey Adams. The 
Text was, Ps. 39 : 4 : " Lord, make me to know mine end and 
the measure of my days, what it is ; that I may know how 
frail I am." Miss Adams was the daughter of Mr. Moses 

About the year 1834 there was a movement by some in the 
Parish to set up another religious service, and procure 
" preaching of some other denomination ; " and for a time 
those interested held an extra service in the Parish Hall by 
the courtesy of the First Parish. In 1835, near the close of 
Rev. Mr. Bailey's pastorate, some more than forty members 
of the First Parish withdrew for the purpose of forming a new 
Religious Society. This decided step led the First Parish 
to withhold the use of the Parish Hall, and the new organi- 
zation set about the erection of a meeting-house. 

Meanwhile Rev. Mr. Bailey had resigned, but was still 
residing in the Parish. After hearing various persons, their 
meeting-house being completed, the new Society invited their 


old minister to become the Pastor. This new organization 
had taken the name of the "Third Congregational Societ)' 
in Medway." And accordingly eleven persons, members of 
the First Church, haA^ing requested, but not received dismis- 
sion, " Wishing," as they say, *" to associate in public worship 
with the " Third Congregational Society in Medway,' agree and 
covenant together to be 


And they add. " We mutually agree to walk together in Chris- 
tian fellowship and to adopt as our Church Covenant the Cov- 
enant used in the said First Church." 

This agreement has appended the following names, viz. : — 

~ Lnther BaDey. .Adam Bullaird. Lewis Harding. Kezia Harding, Olive 
Harding. Sarah Harding. Mary Richardson. Keria Harding. E'ira .Adams. 
Dorcas M. Wright, Abigail LovelL" 

An Ecclesiastical Council was convened on Wednesday, 
Dec 7, 1836, which recognized this Third Congregational 
Church and Society*: dedicated their meeting-house, and 
installed Rev. Mr. Bailey the Pastor. 

The Sermon preached was by Rev. William Ritchie, then 
Pastor of East Xeedham, formerly the minister of Canton, by 
whom Rev. Mr. Bailey was received to the Chiu-ch. This new 
Church maintained service a number of years, and its mem- 
bership increased. Rev. Mr. Bailey being their minister ; but, 
on his retirement, the organization gradually diminished, until 
public service was discontinued. Some of the members 
returned to the old First Church, some have removed from 
town, others have died ; so that, the Third Congregational 
Church and Society- has become \irtually extinct. Those, 
yet living amongst us, generally attend these services, and 
walk in harmony and fellowship >*-ith this Church and 
Societ)'. Their meeting-house was removed to the opposite 
side <rf the street to a site near the meetins-house of the 


First Church. Subsequently it was yielded to the Episcopal 
Church, and fitted up for a place of worship to accommodate St. 
Clement's School, which was located here for a few years. It was 
finally burned in the winter of 1870-1. Rev. Mr. Bailey, on 
retiring from public ser\'ice, worshipped with this congregation. 
He was present in the Council that installed Rev. Mr. Roberts. 
His death occurred at the age of sevent^'-eight years, Dec. 19, 
1 861. He died "beloved and respected by all the people" 
among whom he had lived and labored for so many years. 

Mrs. Bailey sunived her husband, and died June 16, 1863. 

Their daughter, Mrs. Baker, we are happy to see with us 
to-day; another daughter resides in Philadelphia; and the 
only son has for many years been in the successful practice of 
medicine in Pittsfield. 


Soon after Rev. Mr. Bailey's dismission, the Rev. Eli 
Thurston, who aftenvard became the somewhat eminent Dr. 
Thurston of Fall River, was employed to supply the pulpit 
here for one year. The preaching of Rev. Mr. Thurston was 
ver\- direct and pungent. I am told that he held up to the 
people, in an impressive manner, the so-called, " Stem Pauline 
truths of the Gospel," taking many Texts from the Epistle to 
the Romans. 

His preaching seemed to be attended remarkably by the 
power of the Holy Ghost. The whole place was moved ; a 
great awakening came ; as the results of the Re\'ival there 
were some sixt\' persons received to the Church. On a single 
day, April 2, 1837, fort}-five were received by confession 
of faith. Many of these have died and removed, yet some 
remain with us, and are to-day the most substantial members 
of this Church. 

It was about this time that the Church Covenant was 
re\-ised and Articles of Faith adopted, as they now appear in 
our printed Church Manual. 


In July, 1837, a perfectly unanimous call was given to Rev. 
Sewall Harding, of Waltham, to settle Pastor of this Church. 
The salary voted was ^600, with a vacation of two Sabbaths 
Rev. Mr. Harding was a native of Medway ; had fitted for 
college, in part, under the instruction of Rev. Mr. Wright; 
had become interested in personal religion, while a student 
here, and united with this Church May 30, 18 13. After 
graduating at Union College, in the Class of i8i8,he returned 
to this town and studied Theology with Rev. Jacob Ide, d.d., 
Pastor of the Second Church. He married for his wife one 
of the most devotedly pious and active Christian young ladies 
of this Parish, Miss Eliza Wheeler ; and at the time he received 
this call, he had been for some years Pastor of the Church in 
Waltham. Rev. Mr. Harding returned his letter of acceptance, 
dated Waltham, Sept. 15. 1837, and was installed the sixth 
Pastor of this Church Nov. i, 1837. 

Ten Churches were represented in the Council. Rev. 
David Long, of Milford, was chosen Moderator. The Sermon 
of Installation was preached by Rev. Jacob Ide, d. d., of the 
Second Church ; Installing Prayer by Rev. Mr. Cummings, of 
North Wrentham ; Charge to the Pastor by the Moderator ; 
the Right Hand of Fellowship by Rev. David Brigham, of 
Framingham ; and the Address to the People by Rev. Elam 
Smalley, of P'ranklin. 

1837 — SIXTH PASTORATE. I 85 I. 

At the opening of Rev. Mr. Harding's ministry the Church 
numbered one hundred and eighty-two (fifty-seven Males, one 
hundred and twenty-five Females). This is probably the largest 
living membership that the Church has ever numbered. 

In this pastorate of fourteen years some sixty were added ; 
about forty were by confession of faith. It was early in 
Rev. Mr. Harding's ministry that the Church passed a resolu- 
tion in regard to those persons who, having sought dis- 


mission regularly, but not liaving obtained it, set up a new- 
organization called the "Third Congregational Church": — 

" Resolved, That we regard ourselves as absolved from our 
Covenant obligations to them ; and having gone out from us, 
we no longer regard them as members of our body." 

In September, 1838, was organized 


The first Pastor of this new Church, Rev. David Sanford, 
the grandson of the second Pastor of the Second Church, was 
installed Oct. 3, 1838. 

Rev. Mr. Sanford was a native of Med way, graduated at 
Brown University in 1825, studied Theology with Rev. Dr. 
Ide and at Andover Seminary. He was two years Pastor at 
Newmarket, New Hampshire, eight years Pastor in Dorches- 
ter, from whence he came to labor " amongst his own people." 
His ministry was one of great usefulness, for the qualities of 
the man made it impossible that it should be otherwise. 

In 1 87 1 Rev. Mr. Sanford relinquished the active duties of 
his pastorate, and Feb. 13, 1872, Rev. R. K. Harlow was in- 
stalled Junior Pastor of the Church. Rev. Mr. Sanford lived 
in feeble health, but preaching occasionally, and in other ways, 
like the Master, " doing good," until his death, which occurred 
Dec. 17, 1875. 

Rev. Mr. Harlow is fulfilling a ministry of great acceptance 
and ability, and with the seal of God's blessing upon it. The 
resident membership of the Village Church is about two 


While Rev. Mr. Harding was Pastor the slavery agitation 
commenced, and the old Church of Christ in Medway, 
although in her early history holding slaves, was none the 
less true to Christian instincts and the progress of ideas. 
She took decidedly anti-slavery ground, and published to 


the country and the world her sentiments, as we see from 
the following record: "On the second of September, 1842, 
the Church voted unanimously the following 


Whereas, The Christian Church is established to be the light of the 
world, and the great instrument in the great work of the world's reforma- 
tion. It is therefore 

Resolved, That the Church ought to bear decided testimony against 
all sin, and especially reprove with all tenderness and fidelity those mem- 
bers of the Christian body who persist in open transgression. 

Resolved, That the system of Slavery, as it exists in the United 
States, and as tolerated in many Churches in our land, is a violation of 
the letter and the spirit of the Gospel ; inasmuch as it withholds from 
almost three millions of the human family their personal freedom, denies 
them generally the means of education, the privileges and protection of 
civil institutions, the sacred rights of matrimony, and the due reward of 
their labor, tlius reducing them to and holding them in a state of oppres- 
sion, ignorance, and moral degradation scarcely paralleled in the civilized 

Resolved, That we feel constrained, in the spirit of meekness, to re- 
prove and rebuke all professing Christians, ministers, and Churches who 
tolerate Slavery in word or deed, and that we cannot extend the fellowship 
of the Gospel to those who continue to enslave their fellow-men after the 
faithful admonition of their Christian brethren. 

Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the Boston Re- 
corder, The New England Puritan, and The New York Evangelist, 
signed by the Pastor and officers of the Church." 

" The above resolutions were signed and published as above voted. 
Attest, SEWALL HARDING, Pastor." 

(See Vol. IV, Church Records, page 25.) 

By a communication dated April 8, 1849, Rev. Mr. Harding 
a.sked to be released from active service, and relinquished his 
salary with a view to the settlement of a Colleague. To this 
the Church and Parish consented; and Oct. 4, 1849, called as 
Junior Pastor, Rev, T. Y. Clary, of New Ipswich, N. H. 
Rev. Mr. Clary declined the call. April 26, 1850, a call was 
extended to Rev. Albert Tcelc, which was also declined. 
Meanwhile the Parish had been busy in erecting a new house 
of public worship. 



The house of God in which we are now assembled. 

The vote to build was passed by the Parish June 25, 1849. 
After some difference of view expressed, it was finally voted 
to erect the new meeting-house in a new locality, and the 
present site was chosen. The land was given for the purpose 
by Henry Richardson, Esq , embracing what are now com- 
mons about this edifice. 

Sept. 10, 1849, Joseph L. Richardson, Jr., was chosen Build- 
ing Committee ; Messrs. Melvin & Page were the Contract- 
ors. The cost was about $6,000, which was covered by the 
valuation placed upon the pews. 

This house was dedicated Nov. 13, 1850. The Sermon on 
the occasion was preached by Rev. Samuel Hunt, then of 
Franklin, afterwards the Private Secretary of our late Vice- 
President, the lamented Hon. Henry Wilson, of Natick. 
Since its erection, in 1854, the bell became disabled, and was 
exchanged for a new one from the foundry of Holbrook & 
Son. In 1857 this house was re-painted; and in 1867, thor- 
oughly remodelled and enlarged at a cost of nearly $5,000. 
The gallery was lowered, a recess made in the rear of the 
pulpit, twenty pews added, the organ repaired, and the audi- 
ence-room neatly frescoed, giving us this pleasant place of 

April 4, 185 1, a call was extended to Rev. James M. Bacon, 
of Newton, which was declined. 

The following Sept. 4, 185 1, a very unanimous invitation 
was voted to Rev. John O. Means to settle as Pastor. The 
salary was $800, with four weeks vacation. The call was 
accepted. A Council was assembled Dec. 3, 1851. By 
advice of this Council, Rev. Sewall Harding was dismissed, 
and Rev. John O. Means was ordained, and became the 
seventh Pastor of this Church. The Ordination Sermon 
was preached by Rev. Benj. Tappan, d. d., of Augusta, Me. 


Rev, John Dwight, of North Wrentham, made the Ordain- 
ing Prayer. Rev. J. T, Tucker, of Holliston, gave the Charge 
to the Pastor ; Rev. A. Swazey the Right Hand of Fellow- 
ship ; and the retiring Pastor, Rev. Sewall Harding, made the 
Address to the People. 


Rev. Mr. Means was a native of Augusta, graduated at 
Bowdoin College, and studied Theology at Bangor Seminary. 

Early in the ministry of Rev. Mr. Means there occurred 
an occasion of great solemnity and interest to the Church 
and people of the First Parish. I refer to the 


After his appointment, this Church invited Mr. Walker to 
be ordained by them with advice of Council. This invitation 
was accepted. 

Accordingly, Oct. 13, 1852, an Ecclesiastical Council was 
convened for this purpose, and Mr. Walker was ordained as a 
Missionary of the A. B. C. F. M. to Assyria, to be stationed in 

The Sermon was preached by Rev. Swan L. Pomroy, d.d. ; 
Ordaining Prayer was offered by Rev. Jacob Ide, d.d. ; Charge 
was given by Rev. Sewall Harding, and the Right Hand of 
Fellowship by Rev. Horace D. Walker. 

Just before these public services of the afternoon Mr. 
Walker was married, in the presence of the assembly, to Miss 
Eliza M. Harding by Rev. Sewall Harding, the father of the 
Bride, assisted by Rev. H. D. Walker, a brother of the Bride- 

Rev. and Mrs. Walker sailed Jan. 7, 1853, for their field of 
missionary labor. Rev. Mr. Walker arrived in Diarbekir, on 


the river Tigris, April 27, 1853, where he labored for thirteen 
years with great fidelity and success. He died of cholera 
after a short illness, Sept. 13, 1866. For a brief sketch of 
this good man's life and christian services, I must refer you 
to the Missionary Herald, for February, 1867. His wife soon 
after returned to this country, and for some years has been 
doing a noble service by making her residence in Auburn- 
dale a delightful home for the children of missionaries that 
are sent to this country to be educated. 

Rev. Augustus Walker was a son of Dean Walker, Esq., a 
prominent citizen of the town, and for many years a devoted 
member of this Church. 

The pastorate of Rev. Mr. Means was hardly four years in 
length. At its commencement the Church numbered one hun- 
dred and thirty-two members. During his ministry, twenty- 
six were added, fifteen of these by confession of faith. The 
influence of this short pastorate was very great, not only in 
the Church but in the whole community. A spirit of public 
improvement was inspired, and the name of this Pastor is 
still peculiarly fragrant throughout the Parish in the kindest 
remembrances of the people, as is his presence with us to-day 
one of the most gratifying features of this occasion. Rev. Mr. 
Means was dismissed at his own request and the regret of the 
people, Sept. 4, 1855. On leaving Med way he travelled abroad, 
and subsequently to his return was settled as Pastor of the 
Vine Street Church in Roxbury, now Boston Highlands, where, 
although having resigned the active duties for other important 
public labors, he still remains a revered and beloved Pastor. 

For more than a year the Church was without a Pastor, and 
the pulpit supplied by different ministers, among whom were 
Rev. Horace D. Walker, Rev. Mr. Briggs, Rev. Sewall Hard- 
ing, Rev. Jacob Roberts, and Rev. T. T. Richmond. 

In April, 1856, the Church and Parish united in an invita- 
tion to Rev. Jacob Roberts, of Fairhaven, to become their 
Pastor, the annual salary to be ^800, with a vacation of four 
Sabbaths. Rev. Mr. Roberts returned a letter of acceptance 


dated " Fairhaven, June 12, 1856," and was installed the 
eighth Pastor of this Church Oct. 9, 1856. The sermon on 
the occasion was preached by Rev. James A. Roberts, of Berk- 
ley, a brother of the Pastor elect. The text was Ps. 49 : 8, — 
" For the redemption of their soul is precious," etc. Installing 
Prayer by Rev. J. T. Tucker, of Holliston ; Charge to the 
Pastor by Rev. Jacob Ide, d. d. ; Right Hand of Fellowship 
by Rev. H. D. Walker, of East Abington, and the Address 
to the People by Rev. S. Harding, of Auburndale. Rev. 
Luther Bailey, Rev. Sewall Harding, and Rev John O. Means, 
former Pastors, were present in the Council. 


Rev. Mr. Roberts' ministry extended over a period of fifteen 
years, and was greatly blessed of God. Ninety-three persons 
were added to the Church, about seventy of these on confes- 
sion of faith. Over forty were added in the single year of 
1866, the results of a revival. Rev. Mr. Roberts' health 
failed, and he sent in his resignation Oct. 14, 1870, and it was 
accepted ; but his pastoral relation was not formally termi- 
nated, by advice of Council, until Nov. 15, 1871, the day his 
successor was installed. 

After Rev. Mr, Roberts relinquished active service the 
pulpit was supplied by various clergymen, among whom were 
Rev. Alexis W. Ide, Rev. R. M. Sargent, Rev. Henry W. 
Jones ; the latter received a call to settle January, 1871, but 
declined it. During the following summer, Rev. Wm. F. 
Bacon, of Amesbury, supplied the pulpit for three or four 
months with great acceptance. 

In September of this year an invitation to settle in the 
ministry was received and accepted by your present Pastor. 
The salary voted was $1,500. The Installation took place on 
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 1871. Rev. Samuel J. Spalding, d.d., 
of Newburyport, was Moderator of the Council. The vener- 
able Sewall Harding, of Auburndale, Rev. John O. Means, d.d., 


of Boston Highlands, and Rev. Jacob Roberts, of Auburn- 
dale, former Pastors, were present in the Council. Rev. 
Dr. Means preached the Sermon ; Rev. J. M. R. Eaton, of 
Medfield, made the Installing Prayer ; Rev. Dr. S. J. Spald- 
ing, of Newburyport, delivered the Charge to the Pastor ; 
Rev. S. Knowlton, of West Medway, gave the Right Hand 
of Fellowship ; and Rev. Jacob Roberts, the retiring Pastor, 
the Address to the People. 


In these nearly five years little has occurred to mention 
here. Fair prosperity attends us, and a spirit of harmony and 
hopefulness prevails. Thirty persons have been added to the 
Church, and the entire membership at this date is one hun- 
dred and thirty-six (males, 41 ; females, ninety -five), hardly 
larger than it was at the settlement of Rev. Mr. Means, 
twenty-five years ago, but more than double the number of 
members at the settlement of Rev. Mr. Wright, nearly eighty 
years ago. 

The whole number of names preserved on record of the 
members of this Church is seven hundred and thirty-six. 
This total includes only three names of members prior to the 
settlement of Rev. Mr. Bucknam, the second Pastor, in 1724. 

At the settlement of the present Pastor the Parish felt the 
need of a parsonage, and soon were very willingly committed 
to the enterprise of building by the receipt of twenty-five 
dollars from an unknown hand for that purpose. A site was 
selected nearly opposite the meeting-house, contracts made, 
and in the early spring work commenced and pushed vigor- 
ously forward, so that on the first of November, [872, the 
minister and his family entered upon its occupancy. Subse- 
quently, in the autumn of 1S74, by the enterprise of the 
ladies of the Parish, a stable was erected adjacent to the par- 
sonage. The total cost of these new buildings, with the land 
connected with them, was nearly $6,000. 


There is now on foot the building of a Chapel for the 
accommodation of the Branch Sabbath School and Sabbath 
Evening Service in Rockville. The movement is likely to 
succeed, and the Chapel will go up this winter. The Sabbath 
School gathered there numbers about fifty members, and a 
regular Sabbath Evening Service is held once a month by the 
Pastor, and oftener when it is practicable. 

Thus, in these one hundred and sixty-two years under re- 
view, this Church of Christ has built four meeting-houses, 
settled nine Pastors, elected twenty-three Deacons, main- 
tained public worship, sustained a Sabbath School for sixty 
years, a Branch Sabbath School for twenty years, prayer 
meetings weekly and monthly for three-score years, sent 
forth from its members eight or ten ministers of the Gospel, 
two missionaries, a number, perhaps a score, of ministers' 
wives of the very best quality, and a multitude of Christian 
men and women to let their light shine in widely scattered 
places. Who can measure the influence for good of this 
Church of Christ in this period of the past, or forecast what 
she is yet to do in the future for human salvation and God's 
glory ! 


CJiurcJi Covenant. — This has been changed. I am unde- 
cided whether the one already introduced, written on the same 
sheet and by the same hand as the " Halfway Covenant," ante- 
dates the one referred to in the renewal of Covenant in 1736. 
It may be, that it was adopted subsequently, possibly in the 
ministry of Rev. Mr. Green, or early in that of Rev. Mr. 
Wright. It certainly was the Covenant of the Church in 
1808, as we see from the Result of Council of that date, in 
which the following clause is quoted as from the covenant of 
this Church : "and duly to attend the ordinances of Christ in 
this Church as long as your opportunity thereby to be edified 
in your holy faith shall be co.itinued to you." And it was the 


Covenant in use in 1827, as a copy of it made at that time is 
extant, and superscribed " Church Covenant." This continued 
in use probably until about 1836, when the one now used 
was adopted, together with the Confession of Faith prefixed 
as found in our Church Manual, printed in 1837, and reprinted 
in 1870. I am not aware that this Church, until thus recently, 
submitted to candidates for admission, for their public assent, 
a Confession of Faith, but they were admitted on accepting 
the Covenant. 

CImrcli Music. — This has been sustained from a very early 
day, and regulated by the Church. 

Oct. 8, 1736, the Church voted, 

" That none but y^ Tunes set down in the latter end of Our Old Psalm 
Books should beset in the Church at the Sacrament and at Church Meet- 

The first Hymn Books used were the Metred Psalms, and a 
" New Version of Psalms, by Tate & Brady, with a small col- 
lection of Watts' Hymns." The latter was used at the close 
of Mr. Bucknam's Ministry. Then came " Belknap's selection 
of Psalms and Hymns," in Rev. Mr. Wright's day. Subse- 
quently Watts' and Select Hymns were used, and ten years 
ago, in 1866, The Sabbath Hymn Book was adopted, which is 
still in use. 

In 1794 The Parish voted a committee of nine men to con- 
sider and report : " On what principle the Front Gallery may 
be given to the singers." The result was that the dignifying 
of the pews was abandoned, and the front gallery devoted to 
the use of those " that carry on the exercise of singing in time 
of Divine service." 

Appropriations of money were made by the Parish repeatedly 
in the early and later times for the support of a singing school, 
in order to raise up singers for service in the sanctuary. 

Resolutions were adopted by the Church from time to time 
to encourage persons to take part in this important service of 


Nov. 17, 1806, voted unanimously the following: — 

"The First Church in Medway, being sensible that singing is a part of 
Public Worsliip and that it ought to be performed by every worshipping 
assembly, but as it has been too much neglected, we, the Church in this 
place, earnestly request Mr. Joseph Abbe and Mr. Joseph Partridge to 
lead in singing, or any other person so disposed ; also, request all the 
singers to join with them, that we may have singing in the congregation 
at all times when needed, and you sliall receive the thanks of the Church." 

Two years later, in 1808, the Church voted in public meet- 
ing this request : — 

"That the singers among us meet and if possible unite in opening a 
Singing School for their own improvement and for the instruction of 
those young persons among us who may wish to become acquainted with 
this useful art." 

Dec. 5, 1834, is entered in the Church Records this min- 
ute: "At regular Church Meeting, after Lecture, Brother 
Oliver Phillips was chosen Chorister of the Church." 

This position Mr. Phillips, who is still living, and with us 
to-day at the advanced age of ninety, continued to hold for 
many years. 

The reading of the Scriptures as a part of public service 
was not the ancient practice. It was not adopted until some- 
time in Rev, Mr. Wright's ministry, and then, with a struggle. 

It was proposed in Church Meeting, June 5, 1806, but ob- 
jected to so strongly by brethren that a vote was not pressed 
at that meeting ; but soon afterward it was voted, and the 
Scriptures have been read in public service ever since. But 
it was doubtless regarded by the croakers of that early day as 
a great innovation. We see that change may be improve- 
ment ; and we discover also that this Church has ever been 
alive to improvement by change, and has not valued and clung 
to anything merely because old ; that it can change its prac- 
tices easily, and does not care to go in a treadmill or to be 
kept in the old ruts. I trust this spirit is still alive in the 
First Church to-day. 

This Church has taken action on various other matters of 


discipline and practice, e.g., in regard to its members joining 
Baptist Churches, in regard to Infant Baptism, in regard to 
Slavery, Dancing, and Female Suffrage, all of which illustrate 
the living and progressive spirit of the body exceedingly hon- 
orable to her history. But for an account of all this I must 
refer you to the Church Records. 

Grants, Donations, and Legacies. — The Town granted to 
their first Pastor twenty-eight acres of land south of Bare 
Hills, and two acres for a " Building Lot near the Meeting- 

The Town, under the same date, April 20, 171 5, also granted 
twenty acres of woodland for the use of the ministry of the 
Church of Christ in Medway. 

The first legacy to this Church was by the Will of Mrs. 
Mehitable Hill, widow of Enoch, who died May 10, 1798. The 
item of the Will read as follows : — 

" I give to the Cliurch in the East Precinct in the Town of Medway 
the sum often dollars to be kept by a Committee of the Church on in- 
terest forever. The interest to be spent, annually or otherwise, as the 
Church may direct from time to time." 

This Mrs, Hill, whose whole estate, as appears, was worth 
scarcely two hundred dollars, and who could not write her 
name, but sisrned her Will thus " x"^ ," has the honor of being 

° mark =* 

the original founder of our Church Fund. This fund now 
amounts to $10,700, in investments, worth probably about 
$13,000. No one living knows who this Mrs. Hill was, or 
where she lived, but she budded in Zion a monument to her 
piety that will stand forever. 

By bequest, Mrs. Jemima Lovell, second wife of Capt. 
Joseph, who died Oct. 27, 18 14, left money to purchase a Com- 
munion Service for the use of the Church. This was purchased 
in 1817, and remained in use for many years. 

June 29, 18 18, the following communication was made : — 

" To THE First Church of Christ in Medway. 

'■'•Beloved: — Whereas I the subscriber being desirous of doing some- 
thing for the good of this Church and the cause of religion in this place, 


do offer for your acceptance the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars as a 
donation to this Church, to be loaned on good security to the acceptance 
of said Churcli forever, & the interest of the above sum to be spent an- 
nu.illy in providing Bread & Wine for the Communion, if wanted. Wish- 
ing vou grace, mercy & peace I subscribe myself your sister in the faith 
& feilowsiiip of the Gospel." 

(Signed) " Eunice Daniels." 

" The Chh. then voted acceptance of the same," and passed 
a vote of " thanks to our Sister Daniels for her good will & 
donation to the Church." This Mrs. Daniels was the wife of 
Deacon Asa, the younger. 

July 15, 1823, the Treasurer reported a donation of ten 
dollars from Joseph Lovell, Esq., and " the Church voted 
thanks to Br. Joseph Lovell, Esq., for his donation of ten 
dollars to the Church." 

In his Will, the above Joseph Lovell, Esq., who died Oct. 2, 
1827, made the following provision, viz. : — 

" I give devise & bequeath unto tlie First Church of Christ in the East 
Parish in the Town ot Medway the sum of five hundred dollars equal to 
silver or gold to be paid into the Treasury of said Church, and to be put 
on interest by said Treasurer and a Committee chosen by said Church on 
permanent security, anfl to be kept on interest until said sum shall amount 
to one thousand dollars : then the one thousand dollars shall be kept on 
interest forever, and the interest of said one thousand dollars shall go 
toward the support of a Calvinistic Gospel Minister in said Parish for 
ever, to be under the direction of the Church. 

The above said Legacy is to be paid by my executor in one year after 
my decease. 

The above said Legacy is for to lay the foundation for a Fund for the. 
Support of the Gospel in said Parish." ^fw 

Dea. Asa Daniels, who died June 7, 1840, by his Last Will 
and Testament made the following provisions, viz. : — 

" I give, devise and bequeath unto the Church of the First Cong. 
Society in the East Parish in said Medway and their successors forever, 
the sum of two hundred dollars the capital of which to be kept entire and 
the income thereof to be appropriated annually toward the support and 
maintainance of a Protestant, Calvinistic Minister in said Parish." 

In a Codicil is the followiner : — 


" I do hereby order «& declare that my will is, that if at the time of 
her (his wife's) decease any of such estate shall remain unexpended by her, 
then and in such case I give & bequeath such surplus (except the house- 
hold furniture and indoor moveables) if any such surplus shall remain 
after the payment of my just debts and all the legacies bequeathed by me 
in said Will and all her just debts, unto the Church of the First Cong. 
Society in East Parish in said Medway and their successors forever. 
The capital of which to be added to the Legacy given to said Church in 
& by my last Will and Testament. The income only to be appropriated 
annually toward the support and maintainance of a Protestant Calvinistic 
Minister in said Parish, as is expressed in the legacy aforesaid." 

The avails of the entire bequest of Dea. Asa Daniels 
amounted to $8,250. 

The Church Fund, thus constituted by the gifts and be- 
quests of the friends of Christ and of the First Church, has 
yielded annually a handsome income, which has been, and 
still is, of great service in the maintenance of a Gospel 
Ministry ; and I do not think that, to any general extent, it 
has nourished the spirit of illiberality, as is said often to be 
the case. There have been other calls on the purses of the 
people, sufficient to keep their hearts open. 

Not abusing the gifts of God, we may sincerely hope that 
" to him that hath shall be given," until the Parish shall " owe 
no man anything." Furthermore, may the means be forth- 
coming to erect the proposed Chapel in Rockville and to 
improve the vestry and grounds of this house in which we 

We trust the First Church still has, among the living, 
friends disposed and able, either while living or at least by 
their Wills, to cause this ancient Church of Christ to rejoice in 
their piety and thoughtfulness for Zion. 

But above all may we hope that God, the Great Friend of 
past generations and of us, may grant unto us who fill the 
places of the honored and pious dead the richest legacies of 
his Spirit and grace. 

We can but feel impressed with the power for good, the 
moral and religious force, this Church of Christ has been all 


these years in the town of Medway, and also with the great 
indebtedness of the people now living within this ancient 
Precinct, whether attendant on these services or not, to their 
ancestors and predecessors, who established so long ago and 
have maintained to this day this Church of Christ and its 
public worship. 

Of the great multitude of interesting local facts of the 
Town and this ancient Church, I have brought to your notice 
but a few ; yet perhaps enough to show that the spirit of the 
early days and of later times has been a religious spirit ; that 
the men and women, who settled these lands, thought, first of 
all, for the religious welfare of themselves, their children, and 
those that might succeed them. While we honor their piety 
and build their sepulchres with our praises, let us not con- 
demn ourselves. My dear hearers, the religion that was good 
for souls a century and a halfago is good for our souls to-day. 
It is the same old and blessed religion of God ! It has eternal 
truths as its foundations and infinite love as the walls of its 
salvation. Its towers and bulwarks are glorious in tradition 
and history. Let us, then, love the old religion and the old 
Zion of Medway. Let us stand in their support and enjoy 
their sacred service and communion feasts. Let us not forget 
our Jerusalem, but, may Zion be our chief joy! 

Let our prayer ever be, " Peace be within thy walls and 
prosperity within thy palaces." " Because of the house of the 
Lord our God will I seek thy good." 

"Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem," and 
let us say to one another, to our children and our children's 
children by our example and piety and sacrifice, " Let us go 
into the house of the Lord," "To behold the beauty of the 
Lord and to inquire in his temple." 

i8i6— 1S76. 




Fm&w €MWM€m of €mmi&w 



Oct. I, 1876. 
B3^ til© :F^a.stor. 


Sixty j-ears ago, in the autumn of 1816, the First Church in Medway 
dedicated a new and, for those days in the country, a beautiful House of 
Public Worship. It was the immediate predecessor of this in which we 
are assembled. 

On the same day of this Dedication, Nov. 20, 18 16, a new Pastor, Rev. 
Luther Bailey, was ordained over the Church. He was the fifth Pastor 
in order of settlement. 

This ancient Church of Christ, thus installed in a new house of wor- 
ship, and placed under the pastoral care of a young, devoted, and talented 
minister, we may easily conceive, felt a new impulse of life and encourage- 

Almost coincident with these new possessions and these brightened 
prospects, there was awakened a new spirit of Christian activity and 

This showed itself, at first, among a few of the ladies. Some of the 
younger ladies, especially, were quite stirred up to undertake active Chris- 
tian work. There were those here who had intimate friends at school in 
Bradford Academy, who, about that time, were quite ardently interested 
with others of that institution in the Mission Work among the Cherokee 

The spirit prevalent in Bradford was communicated through these 
young lady acquaintances to the ladies here, and there was a deep interest 
felt to do something for the Master, if not among the Cherokees, yet here 
at home. About tliis time also, it would seem providentially, there ap- 
peared articles on Sabbath Schools in good " Dea. Willis's Paper," 
published in Boston, " The Youth's Companion," which was then, as 
now, taken in some of the homes of the Parish. There appeared in 
" The Youth's Companion " of sixty years ago some account of Sabbath 
Schools just started in many of the suburban towns ; and these accounts 
were read with lively interest by these ladies. 

They soon learned that in Dedham and in Medfield something of the 
kind was being tried, and said among themselves, " Why should there not 

be something new under the sun in Tvledway"? Borrowing suggestions 
from sources above-mentioned, inspired by a spirit of labor and enter- 
prise in Christ's service, these young ladies made up their minds to start 
in tliis place a Sabbath School. 

Tiieir plans were not actually carried into execution until the next 
spring. There were obstacles to be surmounted. The winter was 
approaching, which was unfavorable for starting; they had no suitable 
place for holding the school in cold weather, and the movement was 
exceedingly unpopular. Some of the best people looked very coldly on 
the enterprise, and thought it had better not be undertaken. 

I am told that, for some time, the young minister liimself seemed to 
hesitate to declare himself favorable ; the Deacons and prominent men 
in the Church hesitated much longer than he did, even said, " Tlicse 
young folks are taking too much upon themselves " ; and, with a shrug 
of sarcasm, some said, " These women will be in the pulpit next." 

Undaunted, however, at the coming of the next spring with its warm 
sun and singing birds, these persevering ladies secured a large, unoccu- 
pied upper room in the building which, in later years, was the residence 
of Dr. Gale. The floor of that large, empty chamber was laid with loose 
planks, so that great care was needed that the smaller children should not 
fall through the wide cracks. 

There the Sabbath School movement in Medway was inaugurated by 
the pious devotion and perseverance of a few christian ladies, in the 
spring of 1817. 

The number who were actively engaged at first in the school was not 
more than six or eight, and the number of children was not more than 
twenty-five or thirty, but it was in this wise that originated this first Sab- 
bath School, whose Anniversary we observe to-day. 

It seems highly fitting that, now and here, I should call over the names 
of those noble ladies who were pioneers in this enterprise, for their 
names are worthy a public record and to be held in lasting remembrance 
as the 


These worthy names, as I have learned them from the lips of the living, 
were as follows : — 

Mi'sx Sara/i Richardson — She was a sister of our venerable friend and 
Christian brother. Joseph L. Richardson, Esq., now in his ninetieth year. 
This young lady subsequently became the wife of Rev. Alvan Bond, n.D., 
of Norwich, Conn., a clergyman of eminence, and still living. Mrs. Bond 
has been dead some years. 

Miss Catharine Richardson. — This young lady became the wife of 
Rev. Tilly Brown, a Baptist minister, who removed West and settled in 
Indiana. Mrs. Brown is not livin<r. 


Miss Eliza Wheeler. — The sister of onr Christian brother, Abijah R. 
Wheeler. She became the wife of the late Rev. Sewall Harding, who 
was a native of Medway. and for fourteen years the honored Pastor ot 
this Church. Mrs. Harding is living, still young and sprightly, and her 
presence with us to-day is a great joy. 

Miss Mo'cy Daniels Wheeler. — A sister of the last. She became the 
wife of Rev. Jasper Adams, d. d., a native of this Parish, and directly 
descended from Peter Adams, at whose house the first Public Worship 
in the Town was conducted by Rev. David Deming. one hundred and 
sixty-two years ago to-day. This Rev. Dr. Jasper Adams, whom Miss 
Mercy D. Wheeler married, was a man of eminent learning and pulpit 
ability, a distinguished minister, and for some years the honored Presi- 
dent of Charleston College, South Carolina, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Adams 
are both dead. 

Mrs. Mehitabel P. Daniels. — She was the young wife of the late lamented 
Jasper Daniels, Esq., of Rockville. Mrs. Daniels is still living, and we 
hoped to have welcomed her presence here to-day. 

Mrs. Miriam Partridge. — This was a sister of the last named, and the 
wife of David Partridge, Esq. 

Miss Abigail M. Harding. — She. became the wife of Moses Daniels, 
Esq , and afterward of Mr. John Richardson. She was the mother of 
Mrs. Abner Johnson, recently removed from us. 

Mis. Abigail R. Thayer. — This was a daughter of Dr. Abijah Richard- 
son, who for so many years was the Physician of the Parish. Mrs. 
Thayer afterward became the wife of Mr. Zachariah Lovell, who recently 
died at the advanced age of ninety-one years. Mrs. Lovell died some 
years since. 

These were the ladies whose names should be cherished and remem- 
bered as the Founders of our Sabbath School. 

At first the school met at nine o'clock in the morning. 

The children were from seven to fourteen years of age, divided into 
classes of six each. 

The general direction of the school was committed to Miss Catharine 

The school session was opened by the reading of a Prayer, and some- 
times singing by the Teachers. "The children did not sing in meeting 
in those days," I am told. 

For exercises, the children committed the Scriptures to recite, and also 
Watts' Hymns. The Shorter Catechism was somewhat in use. 

Some of the discouragements under which the enterprise started, were 
the prejudices they encountered. Their minister non-committal, the great 
Dr. Emmons expressing doubt as to the wisdom of the movement, not a 
single man of the Church to come to their help, and all the outside people 
quite down upon the undertaking. In such straits, one of them, Miss 
Wheeler, went to see Madam Prentiss, of Medfield, for consultation as to 


giving it up. She met there an earnest Christian lady from Boston, who 
said to her, " My dear child, you have put your hand to the plough, and 
you must not turn back ! " She returned home greatly comforted and 
strengthened. And they were all soon cheered and delighted when their 
young minister took a decided position in their favor, by preaching a very 
stirring sermon on these words, — 

" Help these women." — Phil. 4 : 3. 

The hearts of the men were touched. The sympathies of the good 
Dea. Blake were won, the venerable Dea. Asa Daniels took the matter 
into serious consideration ; and one man, Mr. Moses Harding, a brother 
of one of the ladies, came, the next Lord's day, into the school. It was 
not very long before a certain young man made his appearance among 
these Gospel workers ; although not at that time a member of the Church, 
yet an earnest Christian, he took hold with a hearty purpose to do what 
he could, that purpose I am happy to believe has not yet left him. He 
was the first one to open the school by extempore prayer. Hitherto, the 
ladies had used a written prayer, prepared for the purpose by Rev. Mr. 

This young man continued to labor in the school. Shortly, others 
came in, and the effort prospered. He was chosen its First Superinten- 
dent ; and for twenty-eight years he filled that office with great acceptance 
until his removal from the town. I need not say that I refer to this 
gentleman at my left, Dea. Timothy Walker, of Holliston, whom we are 
so happy to have with us on this occasion. 

The school was, for some years, discontinued in the winter, and 
was removed several times from one place to another. First held, as 
I have said, in that large, upper rooni of an unfinished house ; then re- 
moved to the Office of Timothy Hammond, Esq., which stood in the yard 
of the present residence of Mr. E. S. Fuller ; next into the house now 
occupied by Mr. Fuller; and when the Parish Hall was built, in 1822, it 
was removed to that, and afterwards to the meeting-house. Since this 
house was built in 1850, the Sabbath School has assembled in the Vestry 
below. Mr. Timothy Walker was chosen Superintendent in 1822, and 
remained in office until his resignation, March 4, 1850. On the day of his 
resignation the ladies of the school, in recognition of his long and able 
service, presented him with a large Family Bible, which was inscribed 
as follows : — 

"This Copy of the Sacred Scriptures presented to Dea. Timothy 
Walker by the female members of the Sabbath School of the First Parish 
in Medway, a token of respect for his faithful services and untiring zeal 
as their Superintendent for the long period of twenty-eight years. 

East Medway, Mar. 4t'> 1850.'' 
To fill the vacancy thus made, Mr. Matthew Brown was chosen Super- 


intendent, and was re-elected for six successive years, until his removal 
to Franklin, in 1857. 

His successor was the beloved and lamented John S. Walker, who 
served the school very efficiently fourteen years, until 1870, about a year 
prior to his death. 

Since 1870 Dea. William Daniels has been chosen to serve in the 
position, for which he is admirably fitted. 

For some twenty years this school has had a branch located in Rock- 
ville, consisting of some fifty members. 

This Branch School was started by a lady who came to this Parish, by 
marriage, from the Mt. Vernon Church, Boston, of which Dr. Kirk was 
then Pastor. She, not having good health, was able to attend meeting 
but a part of the day, and she knew there were many of the children of 
her neighborhood who, by reason of distance, could not attend public 
worship and Sabbath School at all ; the thought came to her of inviting 
them to come to her house Sabbath afternoons, and she would tell them 
Bible stories. This the children were glad to do ; so, for continuous 
Sabbath afternoons, they came, until she had not only her sitting-room 
but several other rooms quite filled with eager little boys and girls. At 
length she called in some one to assist her ; and shortly, with the help of 
her good husband and others interested, a Branch Sabbath School was 
fully established. A hall was fitted up for their use, and the enterprise 
is still in successful operation, although some of its early laborers are 
now sainted in Heaven ; one, recently a Teacher, has gone to receive her 
Crown. I refer to Miss Nellie Clark. 

At present the two schools together number over two hundred mem- 
bers, and are enjoying a good degree of prosperity. 

By this review it appears that our Sabbath School is an old institution ; 
that those who were young, the boys and girls who were in it at its 
start, if living, are now getting on in years. 

The ladies who conceived the idea and formed the School, all of them, 
were noble women, and four of the eight became the wives of clergymen. 
Only two of these eight remain on earth ; the others have finished their 
work and entered into rest, the surviving ones must be on the border- 
land. May God bless them still for their labor of love ! 

Of the four Superintendents, all are living but one, and he, good man ! 
died early, too early ; for he could ill be spared by his family, by the 
Church, by the Sabbath School, and by the community. 

The Teachers and Scholars of the school in these sixty }ears, — how 
many is their number ? What have they done in the world, and where 
are they to-day ? Many in Heaven, some scattered widely, others here. 
Our number keeps about the same. " One generation passeth and 
another generation cometh." How many have been connected with this 
school in all these years it is impossible even to give an approximate 
estimate. Who can calculate the good which this enterprise, so small 


and so unpopular in its beginning, has done in this community and in tlie 
world ? Who can calculate the work it is to-day doing and whicli lies in 
its hands for the coming years ? 

See this ceaseless current of immortal souls flowing yearly through the 
vSabbath School to be filtered and blessed by religious instruction and 
influence. What an enterprise is this in which to labor ! How much 
better those few ladies builded than they knew ! 

We see some advancement in Christian ideas in sixty years. We 
should hardly wish to go back to those days again. The activity of the 
Church as a whole, the advance in Christian sentiment, are quite amazing. 

But I proposed to confine myself to a very brief sketch of our Sabbath 
School, thus to open the way for others to speak whom we are all eager 
to hear. This, however, I will say: Let us honor the names and mem- 
ories of those Christian ladies who founded this Sabbath School. Let us 
be proud of its history, and let us give to it our encouragement and our 
service, so that its future may be even more illustrious than its past. 

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